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My policy is not privatization - President

Feb 15 (LT) Privatizing unprofitable state institutes is not his policy said President Mahinda Rajapakse addressing a seminar in BMICH. He pointed out that state institutes should be made profit making institutes that are not a burden for the Treasury but establishments that fulfill their obligations for the people. more..

Fifteen-Year Old Son Gone Missing, Says Mother

Feb 15 (SLA) THE SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCE OF A TEENAGER, reported to have been working for a leading tourist hotel in NILAVELI, TRINCOMALEE, has been brought to the notice of naval troops at NILAVELI roadblock by his mother on Tuesday (14) at about 6.45 p.m. more..

LTTE Peace Secretariat Web Story Untrue & Distorted

Feb 15 (SLA) A LTTE PEACE SECRETARIAT’S media allegations on the murder of a farmer in un-cleared areas at Lingapuram in Trincomalee, attributed to the Sri Lanka Army are completely self-contradictory, false and incorrect since the LTTE Peace Secretariat report itself on Tuesday (14), more..

Fresh laws to govern the fisheries sector Feb 14

Feb 15 (LBO) Fresh laws to govern the fisheries sector is due shortly, replacing a 1996 Act which is missing key international laws and conventions. The Fisheries Department said new Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) laws governing the sector have been introduced since the 1996 Act. more..

Kulasinghe – the concrete expert passes away

Feb 15 (LT) Dr. A.N.S. Kulasinghe, popularly known as ‘Concrete Kulasinghe’ passed away today. He was 87 years old when he died in a private hospital in Colombo. Dr. Kulasinghe brought fame to Sri Lanka introducing new inventions using concrete technology. more..

Cricket play with Tamil Muslim Services raises concerns

Feb 15 (ISL) Although the Tamil Natonal service transmission had been used for the Tamil and Muslim service in the morning and evening hours since 1950, the cricket commentary is broadcasted on Tamil National Service while Muslim and Hindu Religious and cultural programmes are being severely affected according to Tamil and Muslim listeners of the SLBC. more..

UNP demands activation of independent commissions before Local Government polls

Feb 15 (ISL) Speaking at a news conference today, the deputy UNP leader Karu Jayasuriya said that the government must cooperate to activate Independent Commissions before the conduct of the local government polls. He further added that a free and fair election would remain impossible with out these independent bodies. more..

Inter-Religion aliance wants religious representation at Peace Talks

Feb 15 (ISL) The Inter-Religion Alliance for National unity urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to include representation of religious leaders at the peace talks to make the process more productive and successful. Addressing a news conference yesterday, members of the alliance stressed that the President needs to pay attention to this requirement in peace talks. more..

Bypassing 17th Amendment can ultimately move towards return to absolute power says rights group

Feb 15 (ISL) A Statement released by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) warns that present government political trend of bypassing the 17th Amendment can ultimately move towards the return to absolute power in the country. more..

Geneva: a word of caution

Feb 15 (TW) As the dates for the talks in Geneva approach and preparations go ahead, it is worth reminding ourselves as to what is at stake. This is important, since a clear understanding as to what the talks are about will ensure that unrealistic and exaggerated expectations will not be raised and that the talks are seen in perspective. more..

Committee appointed to inquire into the Peraliya train tragedy to submit the final report today

Feb 15 (SLBC) A committee appointed to inquire into the train tragedy which occurred on December 26th 2004 due the tsunami at Peraliya will submit its final report to the government today. Over thousand passengers on this ill-fated train bound to Matara from Colombo died in the tragedy. more..

Unicef statement on child recruits 'pretty lame'

Feb 15 (ANN) Unicef yesterday issued what some critics called "a pretty lame statement" on LTTE child recruitment. While saying that the conscription of even one child was unacceptable, the international child rights agency effectively softened its stance by noting that recruitment has "declined" to a monthly average of 43 over the last six months. more..

Seventeen badly run state-institutions cost taxpayers Rs. 70 bn annually

Feb 15 (LBO) Despite just over two decades of public sector reforms, 17 government entities continue to hemorrhage, draining Rs. 70 billion each year from state coffers, Treasury Secretary said Tuesday. Sri Lanka’s public sector reform programme which kicked off in 1985, was largely focused on selling assets of loss making state entities to private ownership. more..

LTTE urges Govt. to put off polls in North-East

Feb 15 (LM) The LTTE has urged the government to postpone the upcoming local council elections in the North and East on the basis that the current environment is not conducive for the holding of such a poll in the two provinces. more..

CWC, UPF in divide and rule agreement

Feb 15 (SAMN) The CWC and UPF have decided to work in unity, sharing there party symbols, when contesting the Loval government elections in five districts, ex-MP and CWC vice president R. Yogarajan said Tuesday. He said this decision was taken in regard to the districts of Colombo, Badulla, Ratnapura, Kegalle and Kalutara. more..

Tsunami victim's plea falls on deaf ears

Feb 15 (SAMN) A woman who lived near the Cod Bay Lagoon by the side of the main road with her family and who lost her house and belongings due to the tsunami wave a year ago has not received any assistance from the State. Despite sending four letters to the President in addition to meeting the Grama Niladari China Bay, more..

Boom time for betel growers

Feb 15 (SAMN) Betel export under the Export Agriculture Development Program 'Bulath Arunella' (betel grower's organisation) organised by the Department of Export Agriculture, in collaboration with the Export Agriculture Development Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture was a great success and the betel growers are making a good income selling their product at high rates. more..

Private hospitals to be regulated: New laws soon

Feb 15 (LNP) After a prolong delay, controversy and protests, a bill to monitor and control private medical institutions was presented in parliament yesterday. The proposed legislation titled `Private Medical Institutions (Registration) Bill` was presented by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, and will be taken up for debate later. more..

Highest possible civil aviation safety standards in the region - Minister Mangala Samaraweera

Feb 15 (LNP) Respective governments of the South Asian countries had witnessed the progress made, endorsed to the efforts and pledged support to make sure that civil aviation activities in the region would be conducted by maintaining the highest possible safety and security standards with due attention to preserving the environment in which the industry existed, more..

Save the cattle from slaughter

Feb 15 (LNP) The Plantation Infrastructure and Livestock Development Ministry is seeking public assistance to divert cattle from the slaughter house. Such cattle could have a more productive future of the National Livestock Development Board in various parts of the island. more..

Gov't plans to achieve 8 percent GDP growth

Feb 15 (Xinhua) The government is in the process of drafting a six year strategic plan to achieve an 8 percent growth in the country, Treasury Secretary P.B Jayasundara was quoted by Daily News as saying on Wednesday. The government wants to develop both community-based development projects and mega projects concurrently to achieve the target, Jayasundara said. more..

Land for landless farmers

Feb 15 (DN) The Agricultural Development Ministry will distribute 100,000 plots of land among landless peasant farmer families before April this year. This follows directives by Agricultural Development Minister Chamal Rajapakse at the Ministry's first progress review meeting at the Parliamentary Complex. more..

Teachers to be recruited for Sri Lanka

Feb 15 (NIP) The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has planned to send 12 teachers from India to the island nation to teach Physics and Chemistry to the children of plantation workers of Indian origin there. The task of selection has been entrusted to the placement bureau of Gandhigram Rural University. more..

Lanka-LTTE trust at rock-bottom: Nordic Monitors

Feb 15 (MO) Nordic truce monitors, overseeing the shaky truce between the Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for the past four years, said mutual trust between the two parties is at rock-bottom and that confidence-building measures are needed to take the Norwegian-brokered peace process forward. more..

Tigers respond to Rajapakse's statement

Feb 15 (TN) The LTTE, on Wednesday, responded to SL President Mahinda Rajapakse's recent interview where he rejected the Tamil call for self-rule. "Homeland, nationhood and self-rule are the three basic and cardinal principles," that have been guiding the LTTE in its struggle to find a peacefully negotiated political arrangement, more..

Young Sri Lankan filmmakers take lead on peace

Feb 15 (IANS) Young filmmakers in Sri Lanka are making a conscious effort to highlight issues such as peace and post-tsunami recovery through their films, hoping to target opinion makers and push the stalled peace process. The budding directors have made three films that examine conflict and violence within the tsunami-affected areas and underlined the role of poverty in this vicious cycle. more..

Be 'flexible' at Geneva, India tells Sri Lanka

Feb 15 (IANS) India has advised Sri Lanka to be 'flexible' during talks with the Tamil Tiger guerrillas in Geneva next week. Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran made the suggestion to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse during a meeting in Colombo Monday, official sources told IANS Wednesday. more..

President says privatization not answer to economic ills

Feb 15 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday privatization of loss-making state institutions was not the answer to the country's all economic ills. Rajapakse outlined his government's reform policy with regards to the loss-making state businesses by saying that privatization is not the remedy to all ills in the state sector. more..

Sri Lanka truce talks to focus on shadowy paramilitaries

Feb 15 (AFP) The role of shadowy paramilitary groups in Sri Lanka's troubled regions will be a key topic during truce talks between Colombo and Tamil rebels, a diplomatic source said. The agenda for the first face-to-face meeting between the government and the LTTE will focus on addressing the issue of "paramilitary" groups, the source close to the process said on Wednesday. more..

Tamil Tigers say 28 underage combatants discharged

Feb 15 ((AP) The Tamil Tigers rebels said Wednesday they discharged 28 volunteers after learning they were under 18 years old, aiming to deflect U.N. criticism that the insurgents continue to recruit children despite pledges to stop. The youths were either returned to their parents or joined a rebel-run rehabilitation center, more..

Tigers put talks on notice over self-rule demand

Feb 15 (AFP) Tiger rebels pressed for autonomy and warned that any move to deny a "Tamil homeland" would jeopardise proposed face-to-face talks with Colombo next week. The rebel LTTE said Wednesday they may be forced to push for full independence if the government rejects political autonomy for a homeland for minority Tamils in the island's northeast. more..

Sri Lanka rebels say shocked at president stand on homeland

Feb 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said on Wednesday they were shocked at President Mahinda Rajapakse's rejection of their demands for a separate Tamil homeland, and said it may leave them no alternative but to push for self-rule. more..

Sri Lanka attacks may deepen if talks fail - monitor

Feb 15 (Reuters) Sporadic attacks that threatened to rupture a truce which halted Sri Lanka's two-decade civil war could resume with even greater ferocity if next week's crunch talks fail, the island's chief truce monitor said. Escalating attacks in December and January killed around 200 soldiers, police, civilians and Tamil Tigers more..

Nordic truce monitors in SL call for CBMs

Feb 15 (HT) Talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE will be successful only if the two parties improve mutual trust by taking appropriate Confidence Building Measures (CBM), says Hagrup Haukland, head of the Scandinavian-staffed truce monitoring team in Sri Lanka. more..

Taxpayers too afraid of tax collectors to complain about mistreatment

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lankan tax payers are too afraid of retaliation by tax collectors to complain about mistreatment. Sri Lanka appointed a tax ombudsman in September 2005 to mediate between the Department of Inland Revenue and the island’s small number of tax payers, as a way of easing strained relations. more..

Sri Lanka announce squad to tour Bangladesh

Feb 16 (CI) Dammika Prasad, the 22-year-old fast bowler, is the only newcomer to the Sri Lanka Test and one-day teams picked for the tour of Bangladesh starting later this week. Prasad, a right-arm fast bowler has played in only 22 first-class matches since his debut in 2001-02 but within that period has captured 80 wickets at the impressive cost of 22.85 runs apiece. more..

Sri Lanka expel Serasinghe from World Cup

Feb 16 (CI) Sachithra Serasinghe, one of Sri Lanka's most prolific allround cricketers in the Under-19 World Cup, has been sacked from the team on disciplinary grounds. Sri Lanka team manager Ashley de Silva said that Serasinghe had breached rules and regulations imposed by the team management and appropriate action had been taken. more..

Hakeem banned from local polls

Feb 16 (BBC) District Court of Colombo ruled that SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem and its general secretary should not sign any nomination papers for the forthcoming local polls. The court issued this injunction order followed by a hearing of a petition filed by a member of the SLMC which said that the above two officials have no authority to sign the nomination papers as they are not recognised as party officials. more..

president releases top opposition politician jailed for contempt of court

Feb 16 (AP) President Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday ordered the release of a top opposition leader, who was serving a two-year jail sentence for criticizing the Supreme Court, the president's office said. "Considering the requests made by various quarters of the society including prominent Buddhist monks, President Rajapakse decided to give a special presidential pardon to S.B. Dissanayake," more..

Links between Australian drug kingpin Sukumaran and LTTE to be probed

Feb 16 (AT) Indonesia hopes to obtain Interpol assistance to investigate into the alleged links between the convicted drug smuggler of Tamil origin Mayuran Sukumaran and the LTTE, the militant group fighting for a separate state in Sri Lanka. more..

'Zero tolerance on LTTE child recruitment,' former UNESCO officer calls on international community

Feb 16 (AT) Dr Hiranthi Wijemanne, former head of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said that the international community should impress upon the LTTE to immediately stop the rebel group’s child recruitment drive. more..

SLMC succumbs to party pressure, decides to go with UNP

Feb 16 (AT) Despite an initial decision to go solo at the forthcoming Local Government Election, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) succumbed to party supporters pressure and have decided to contest under the United National Party (UNP) banner at certain districts. more..

No lodging in 'Ambalamas' in Mahinda Chintana - President

Feb 16 (LeN) As the target of Mahinda Chintana is to create a new Sri Lanka, state and state enterprise officials should not rest in 'Ambalamas' in the quest for achieve that target, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned. The President sounded this warning addressing a conference of state enterprise executive officers last evening at the BMICH. more..

Tamil Tiger killer gangs go international

Feb 16 (ISL) The killer gangs of the LTTE have so far been regional in South Asia beginning with Sri Lanka and then the southern districts of India, principally Tamilnadu. Their Indian assassinations included the suicide bomber attack on a former prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. more..

Army donate blood for Tamils & Muslims

Feb 16 (LT) Members of security services in Batticaloa have donated blood for patients in Batticaloa hospital. There was a scarcity of blood in the hospital and the patients were greatly inconvenienced. Most of the patients in the hospital are Tamils and Muslims. more..

Colombo Mayoral elections: Srisena Cooray Vs Vasudeva Nanayakkara

Feb 16 (AT) Senior member of the UNP and former Minister Sirisena Cooray and one considered as a giant in the leftist politics, who is the leader of the Democratic Left Front, Vasudeva Nanayakkara are scheduled fight for the Colombo Mayor's seat at the forthcoming local government elections. more..

Sri Lanka leaves key rate unchanged for second month

Feb 16 (Bloomberg) Central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a second month to spur investment and fuel economic growth after four increases last year helped slow inflation. The Central Bank left the repurchase rate at which it drains money from the banking system at 8.75 percent, more..

Grenade & ammunition recovered during route clearing patrols

Feb 16 (SLA) TROOPS ON A ROUTE CLEARING PATROL IN BHARATHIPURAM area in TRINCOMALEE on Wednesday recovered about 110 live rounds of ammunition in a nearby jungle patch. Meanwhile, another route clearing operation conducted by the troops in BOWATTA area between 96th - 97th km posts on the POLONNARUWA – BATTICALOA Main Supply Route (MSR) found an unexploded hand grenade more..

Wanni’s Deputy Pol Pot began as a teenage pistol gangster

Feb 16 (ISL) Geneva Talks are just a week away and there are serious concerns about Tiger leadership at the proceedings. A cold and callous clamour for it has erupted between Anton Balasingam fighting from the United Kingdom and Zoo-Paa Thamilselvan from the Wanni Kingdom. more..

ITAK uncontested in Verugal local council

Feb 16 (TN) Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) was elected uncontested in the Verugal Pradesiya Sabah in the Trincomalee district when submission of nomination lists for the thirteen local authorities closed Thursday at noon. more..