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Shaken Aussies in must-win situation

Feb 11 (AFP) Australia have crashed from being unbeatable favourites to facing a must-win match on Sunday against a rejuvenated Sri Lanka. A defeat at Sydney on Sunday would mean losing a home triangular one-day series finals for the first time in 13 years. (Note: You can listen to live commentaries at in Tamil National Service in English/Sinhala during the match) more..

Govt. and TRO trade charges on abductions

Feb 11 (PIS) While the government continues to level criticism at the TRO relief agency saying it is not assisting investigations into the abduction of its staff the TRO says assistance offered is not being accepted or sought. Media Minister said on Thursday that investigations into the abduction of 10 TRO employees had been hampered owing to the lack of cooperation from the Tamil relief agency. more..

Army Chief satisfied with Jaffna security

Feb 11 (PIS) Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka who visited Jaffna, expressed satisfaction over the security situation in the peninsula but stressed the Army was not ready to relax security under any circumstances. "We have not heard of hostile acts against Security Forces in Jaffna following the announcement of Geneva talks more..

Main roads in several provinces of the island will be renovated

Feb 11 (SLBC) Main roads in several provinces will be renovated. Under this programme, the Balangoda-Bandarawela road will be renovated up to 54 kilometers with the financial assistance of the government of Korea. Korea has agreed to provide 3.17 billion rupees. It is also expected to develop several roads in the Central province. more..

Mini polls to cost Rs 999m

Feb 11 (SAMN) Though the forthcoming Local Government Polls are considered as mini polls it would cost the same Rs. 999 million which was spent on the Presidential Elections of 2005, the Elections Secretariat's Chief Accountant H. A. S. Hapuarachchi said yesterday. more..

High demand for Lankan handicrafts

Feb 11 (SAMN) The National Chamber of Handicrafts of Sri Lanka (NCHSL) was able to gain USD 5,000 worth of orders at the sources of Los Angeles, an international trade fair for giftware items which was held in USA recently. CEO of NCHSL, A.C. Nawagamuwa said that the tour was successful and the Chamber received orders for brass elephants and soft toys such as jigsaw puzzles. more..

Talks on change in SLFP leadership

Feb 11 (LNP) A possible change in the SLFP leadership was discussed when President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga met at Temple Trees for a marathon discussion, party sources disclosed yesterday. The discussion went on for nearly four and half hours forcing President Rajapaksa to even skip the Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Secretariat. more..

Jaffna Technical College to be upgraded

Feb 11 (LNP) The Jaffna Technical College managed by the Department of Technical Education will be upgraded as a Technological University by the Vocational and Technical Training Ministry. The Government of the Republic of Korea will provide Rs. 230 million under an MoU signed with the Government, the Vocational and Technical Training Ministry said in a release yesterday. more..

School admission racket on again?

Feb 11 (LNP) The scramble for admission to Grade I in government schools continues through the second week of February. Parents from various areas were driven from pillar to post by certain principals and Ministry `Brahmins` inspite of Minister Susil Premajayantha working from almost 7.00 a.m. daily to meet parents with grievances, a number of parents told The Island. more..

Elephants play polo, run races to raise funds for their upkeep

Feb 11 (AP) Some 40 elephants helped to raise funds for charity Saturday by running races, taking part in a tug-of-war, playing polo and dancing to the rhythm of traditional drums. Mahouts straddled atop the hulking pachyderms maneuvered their animals - draped in bright colored cloths despite the scorching tropical heat - more..

SL to have special police to curb child sex tourism

Feb 11 (HT) The police on Friday announced a plan to set up a special police unit to curb Child Sex Tourism (CST), which is a major menace in the island country. "Such a unit is essential and timely," said Jagath Keenawinna, Senior Superintendent of Police (Crimes) Women and Children's wing at a seminar on CST here on Friday. more..

Poor response to extremists’ calls for protests and boycott

Feb 11 (NEM) Calls by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and other so called representatives of the Muslim community on the island have fallen on deaf years, as most Muslims carried on with their day to day lives. Protests that were planned for Friday afternoon saw a disappointing turnout, as most Muslims made their way home after Jummah prayers. more..

Fate of abducted Tamils causes concern

Feb 11 (HT) The fate of seven Tamil relief workers, who were allegedly kidnapped by a pro-government Tamil armed group in eastern Sri Lanka late last month, was causing grave concern, a spokesman of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) said in Colombo on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka's new Tamil party opts for federalism

Feb 11 (IANS) Just days before Colombo and the Tamil Tigers meet in Geneva, a new Tamil political party that was formed quietly in Sri Lanka says its aim is to transform the country into a federal republic. And the All Ceylon Tamil United Front's top functionary, and the only one prepared to reveal his identity for now, is none other than K. Vigneswaran, more..

Getty Images

Feb 11 (AFP) A Sri Lankan mahout coaxes his charge into standing on its hind legs during a display in Colombo as part of a jumbo carnival. Owners of elephants in Sri Lanka organised a day out for elephants during an annual temple festival. more..

Sri Lanka boat explodes as navy goes to search it

Feb 11 (Reuters) A fishing boat exploded when a Sri Lankan naval patrol boat approached it near rebel Tamil Tiger territory on Saturday, international truce monitors said they had been told by the military. A military source said it might have been a rebel Sea Tiger boat that blew itself up when stopped by a naval patrol rather than be searched. more..

Sri Lanka navy says rebel smugglers blew themselves up

Feb 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka said Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up on a trawler smuggling weapons off the island's coast on Saturday to avoid a search ahead of talks in Switzerland later this month aimed at averting civil war. more..

Preparatory talks in Sri Lanka ahead of Geneva talks

Feb 12 (Xinhua) Extensive consultations between the political parties and the government are to take place one week ahead of the proposed Geneva talks between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the government, officials said Saturday. The minority Muslim legislators represented in parliament are to meet on Feb. 14 to decide on a Muslim representative to attend the Geneva talks, more..

Minister assures phased troop reduction near NorthEast schools

Feb 12 (TN) Mr. Susil Premajayanth, Minister of Education, at a meeting with a Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CTTU) delegation held Thursday evening at his ministry office in Colombo, assured the CTTU officials that he would take action to reduce the presence of State armed forces and sentry points from the vicinity of schools in the North East in stages. more..

Muttur Magistrate visits prison, addresses prisoners rights

Feb 12 (TN) Mr.Manickavasagar Ganesharajah, Muttur Magistrate Thursday paid a surprise visit to Trincomalee prison and inquired from the prison authorities about the grievances of suspects in remand and the facilities provided to them to communicate with their relatives. more..

EROS Nesan warns LTTE to stop harassing the Muslim Community

Feb 12 (ISL) In an interview exclusive to the Independent the EROS leader stated that unless the LTTE ceased attacking the Muslim community or provoking tensions between the Tamil and Muslim community, an Hamas or Al queda like movement will be born in Sri Lanka and retaliate. more..

"Is the Sri Lankan army to run after Prabhakaran’s wife if she runs away from him?" --- S.L. Gunasekera

Feb 12 (AT) S.L Gunasekara, a leading lawyer battling separatism on political and legal fronts, went to courts against the then Wickremesinghe administration for entering into a Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) in 2002 with the LTTE, a banned terrorist organisation. more..

Saving the Ceasefire

Feb 12 (AT) Both the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE are on record expressing their separate hopes for the success of Geneva talks. Both sides say they are desirous of saving the ceasefire. However what each side means by saving the ceasefire varies as does their favoured means of achieving this end. more..

Kidnappers release businessman in Colombo

Feb 12 (TN) The Tamil millionaire businessman Anandan Vadivel, who was kidnapped in Colombo on Wednesday, was left at a private hospital by the kidnappers Friday night, family members said. Andandan Vadivel was brought to Royal Private hospital in Wellawatta by the kidnappers and was admitted by them at the hospital saying that he was unwell and handed over his identitiy card to the hospital staff. more..

Tigers deny smuggler boat blast

Feb 12 (ST) THE Sri Lankan military said Tamil Tiger rebels blew themselves up on a trawler smuggling weapons overnight to avoid a search ahead of peace talks in Switzerland later this month, but the rebels denied involvement. A spokesman for the LTTE said the trawler might have simply been an innocent Sri Lankan or Indian fishing boat. The rebels have routinely denied involvement in recent incidents. more..

Mistaken identity : 'Sathdina' attacked instead of 'Irudina'

Feb 12 (LeN) The proprietor of the 'Sathdina' week-end mewspaper and some of his employees were brutally assaulted mid night yesterday by a groupof thugs lead by Opposition Leader of Kotte Urban Council Janaka Ranawake. This attack was carried out when they were putting up posters to promote the newspaper. more..

Party leader Chandrika appointed as the acting Gampaha D/leader

Feb 12 (LeN) Sri Lanka Freedom Party Chairman Chandrika Kumaratunga has been appointed as the acting leader of the Gampaha district organization. She has been appointed to the post, in a letter signed by SLFP General Secretary Maihreepala Sirisena. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 12 (AP) Traditional drummers perform during an annual traditional Buddhist procession in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Saturday. Sri Lankan Buddhists hold processions every year honoring the religious relics. more..

Indian designer Deepika Gehani dazzles Colombo

Feb 12 (IANS) Deepika Gehani, the Indian designer synonymous with opulence and effortless chic, launched her first international collection at a dazzling ramp show at Watersedge, Sri Lanka's newest golf resort, showcasing her signature brand of seduction, grace, glitz and glamour. more..

Amnesty seeks end to jungle law in Sri Lankan east

Feb 12 (IANS) Amnesty International has sought an effective human rights mechanism to end rampant lawlessness in eastern Sri Lanka for which it has blamed both the LTTE and its breakaway Karuna faction. In a sweeping indictment of armed Tamil groups as well as Sri Lankan authorities, the rights body has documented widespread human rights abuses more..

Arrested LTTE teenager’s secret mission exposed

Feb 12 (SLA) FURTHER INQUIRIES on the arrest of the LTTE teenager on Saturday (11) at URANI, BATTICOLA have revealed that the arrested LTTE teenager had been sent into the area by LTTE intelligence leader for the east to carryout attacks on the members of Security Forces. more..

Sailor Injured In Sea Tiger Blast Dies

Feb 12 (SLA) THE SAILOR WHO SUSTAINED INJURIES in the blast of an LTTE sea craft Saturday (11) in the sea off TALAIMANNAR succumbed to his injuries early morning today (12) at ANURADHAPURA hospital. The deceased, Able Seaman H.G.M. PREMAKUMARA of MAUSSAGOLLA, PASSARA, was transferred to the ANURADHAPURA hospital from MANNAR Saturday more..

Will the Karuna stop by LTTE?

Feb 12 (ANN) The LTTE efforts to put the onus of disarming Karuna entirely on the government is a convenient way of shifting responsibility, says Jayantha Dhanapala, who dealt closely with the Tiger rebels during his 18 months as head of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP). more..

Ranatunga urges Murali not to play in Australia

Feb 12 (AFP) Arjuna Ranatunga said ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan should stop playing in Australia because of crowd taunts over his action in the ongoing tri-series. "If I had been the captain or manager I would have asked Murali to pack his bags and go home and take some rest as there is a limit to everything," Ranatunga said on Sunday. more..

Expatriate Tamils and Muslims demand end to LTTE human rights violations

Feb 12 (ISL) Sri Lankan Muslim Information Centre in UK and Tamil Democratic Congress in a joint press release demanded an end to LTTE human rights violations in Northeast. The statement claimed that the 55 members of EPDP had fallen victims to LTTE since the ceasefire agreement signed in April 2002. more..

Sri Lanka’s tsunami victims take charge amid failed policies

Feb 12 (Dawn) A law-abiding citizen, Mohideen Ajmal is nevertheless happy to have violated a ‘no-build-buffer-zone’ on the beach to re-establish a business selling fish wholesale, wrecked by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which flattened three-quarters of this island country’s coasts. more..

Sri Lanka eyes to capture tea market in Pakistan

Feb 12 (PT) Sri Lankan government is opening the first Ceylon Tea Center in Karachi in a bid to capture the market, as the people have developed a taste for tea as an essential food item in Pakistan. It is not the tea alone, which has become a major food item in Pakistan, in fact tea has fueled the consumption of sugar and milk at a massive scale more..

Geneva talks must focus on SLMM rulings on violations ? Military

Feb 12 (LNP) The military Friday said that the forthcoming talks on the Oslo-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement should focus on the Nordic monitoring mission`s reports dealing with the four-year-old truce. The Oslo-led mission has ruled that the LTTE violated the CFA on 3,471 occasions during the past four years. more..

LTTE, monitors, don`t see eye to eye

Feb 12 (LNP) The monitoring mission spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir yesterday said that the mission and the LTTE sharply differ on child recruitment. Acknowledging that child recruitment was a contentious issue, she said that the mission acts promptly on complaints received from parents and relatives of missing children. more..

Honest Anura turns wheel on fortune

Feb 12 (LNP) In a day and age when one may not be able to trust even one`s nearest and dearest, one might just have the good fortune of running into a perfectly honest stranger. In this instance, it was someone who did a good deed for no particular reason, but due to his humanness. more..

Iran unhappy over Lanka`s pro-US vote

Feb 12 (LNP) Iran has expressed its `displeasure` to the Sri Lankan government about its decision to vote in favour of a resolution against it at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency last week in Vienna, amidst intense pressure from the US on Colombo. more..

Australia send series to third final

Feb 12 (CI) Two days after an embarrassing slip-up Andrew Symonds and Ricky Ponting led a stunning recovery to set an Australian-record total and push them to a series-deciding final in Brisbane on Tuesday. Australia slumped to 3 for 10 in the third over before Symonds muscled a brutal 151 and Ponting weaved a superb 124 that catapulted them to a barely believable 5 for 368 more..

Too few Tamil speakers in SL Govt service

Feb 12 (HT) Sri Lanka's Official Languages Commission has reported that there are far too few Tamil speakers in government service and has suggested measures to correct the glaring imbalance. The Tamil-speaking population in Sri Lanka comprises Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Origin Tamils and Muslims. more..

Sri Lanka doubts foreign advisors ahead of truce talks

Feb 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka has found that US experts hired to advise its peace negotiators could compromise crucial ceasefire talks, as Tiger rebels were accused of gun running. The foreign conflict resolution experts hired by Colombo last week turned out to be "too liberal" and "possibly too pro-Tigers" and could compromise two-days of talks due to start on February 22, more..

Ponting and Symonds take the ruthless approach

Feb 12 (CI) The response was emphatic, ruthless, and almost gruesome. Left pink-faced following their panic-stricken display on Friday night at Adelaide, staring at the possibility of their first VB Series defeat in a finals since 1993 and having slumped to 10 for 3 before thousands had even passed through the turnstiles, more..

Harvard experts too pro-Tiger, too liberal, says Govt. paper

Feb 13 (TN) "It [Sri Lanka Government Peace Team] learnt that two Harvard specialists who were coaching the peace team on some aspects of conflict resolution, for instance, were thought of as being too liberal and possibly too pro Tiger in their views," said Sri Lanka Government official paper Sunday Observer in its latest edition. more..

Red Cross constructs permanent houses for Trinco tsunami victims

Feb 13 (TN) Mr.S.Nimalkumar, National Secretary of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) Sunday morning laid the foundation stone for a permanent housing project for tsunami affected Sinhalese families in the Trincomalee town and its suburbs at Sumedhankarapura, located at 5th Mile Post along Trincomalee-Kandy highway. more..

TNA to contest eleven local councils in Trinco district

Feb 13 (TN) The TNA is to contest eleven of thirteen local authorities in the Trincomalee administrative district in the forthcoming election to local councils. TNA will submit nomination lists for two urban councils (UC) and nine pradesiya sabahs (PS) under the election symbol, House, of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), more..

Muslims and Indian Tamil parties to ally with Opposition and Government in the Local government polls

Feb 13 (AT) The key political parties representing two minority communities - the Muslims and the Indian Tamils, have decided to form allies with the major parties at the forthcoming elections for 330 Local government bodies in the country. more..

Govt delegation, yet to be finalized

Feb 13 (AT) The Government peace negotiating team led by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva is scheduled to arrive at Geneva in Switzerland on February 20 for the Ceasefire Talks with the Liberation Tigers on February 22 and 23, sources close to the Government Peace Negotiating team told the 'Asian Tribune.' more..