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Not restricting talks to govt, LTTE: Parties welcome president`s stance

Feb 19 (LNP) Political parties yesterday welcomed President Mahinda Rajapakse`s stand that peace talks should not be restricted to the government and the LTTE, parties to the Oslo-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA). Addressing Friday`s all-party conference at the Presidential Secretariat, more..

State funeral for nation`s great builder

Feb 19 (LNP) Dr A.N.S. Kulasinghe, one of the greatest engineers the country has ever produced, was accorded a state funeral yesterday at Independence Square amidst a large and distinguished gathering. Mr. Kulasinghe passed away on Wednesday at the age of 87. more..

UNP hunts for Judases

Feb 19 (SAMN) A major probe is underway by the opposition UNP hierarchy to ascertain whether their contesting the Colombo Municipal Council election was sabotaged, and whether the staff at its headquaters at 'Siri Kotha' is in the 'pockets' of certain Colombo city MPs who may be bankrolling them. more..

University functions despite strike

Feb 19 (SAMN) Despite protests by a section of non-academic staff of Colombo University, the University functioned smoothly, Colombo University Vice-Chancellor's office said on Friday. The Inter-University Trade Union Federation launched an island-wide token strike last Thursday in protest of the installation of finger sensor machines on attendance of employees in the University of Colombo. more..

House website not in order

Feb 19 (SAMN) The new Sri Lanka Parliament website launched last Friday with much fanfare by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is incomplete and full of spelling and grammatical errors. The Government’s primer information technology agency, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka through its e-Sri Lanka project undertook the website as a pilot project. more..

Sri Lanka to tax foreign movies, dramas, sitcoms from April

Feb 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to go ahead with a controversial plan to tax imported film and television programs, which may result in the entertainment of minority language speakers of the island being heavily taxed to support programs produced in the majority language. more..

Jayawardene relishing captaincy challenge in Bangladesh

Feb 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene is relishing his new role as captain in the three-match one-day series in Bangladesh starting on Monday. "We want to win everything we play. So we are here for win with a high confidence," Jayawardene told reporters on Sunday. more..

Vasu promises clean city

Feb 19 (SO) Colombo city will be converted into clean city with no polythene and garbage, Mayoral candidate of the SLFP led coalition for local government elections in Colombo Municipal Council Vasudeva Nanaykara told the Sunday Observer. Since independence except for two months the Colombo Municipal Council was ruled by the UNP. more..

Navy recovers anti-personnel mines, detonators in northwestern Sri Lanka, military says

Feb 19 (AP) The navy recovered three anti-personnel mines and detonators hidden in northwestern Sri Lanka on Sunday, a military spokesman said. Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said the explosives were recovered in an area covered with shrubs in Pesalai, Mannar district, 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Colombo. more..

Switzerland taking deep interest in Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (IANS) Switzerland, which hosts this week talks between Colombo and Tamil Tiger guerrillas, is one of the world's oldest democracies and has been taking a deep interest in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict for years. It is precisely this reason that made Berne let the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE meet in Geneva Feb 22-23 more..

Anti-LTTE group captures local body in LTTE's base

Feb 19 (HT) The anti-LTTE EPDP has captured the Pudukudiyiruppu Pradeshiya Sabha, under whose jurisdiction comes the area where the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has his headquarters. Returning Officer AS Karunanithy said in a notification on Saturday that the EPDP was elected unopposed because only they had a valid list of nominees. more..

SL Muslim rights activist warns of arms struggle

Feb 19 (HT) A leading Muslim human rights activist has warned that Muslims in Sri Lanka may be forced to take to arms and seek help from the Muslim world if the LTTE continues to trample on them and the government keeps ignoring their cries. MIM Mohideen, Chairman of the Muslim Rights Organisation, said, "If this state of affairs is allowed to continue we will have another looming problem of immense magnitude. more..

Sri Lanka government, rebels, hope to salvage ceasefire at first peace talks in three years

Feb 19 (AP) Sri Lankan government officials and leaders of the Tamil Tiger rebels meet this week at a secluded Swiss chateau outside Geneva to try to patch up their unraveling cease-fire, which brought three years of relative calm and the benefits of peace after decades of war. more..

No links to talks venue : govt media

Feb 20 (BBC) State media in Sri Lanka have denied reports that the government is setting up live telephone links to the venue of the peace talks with Tamil Tigers in Geneva, Switzerland. Daily News editor Bandula Jayasekara, who is in Geneva, told BBC Sandeshaya that the reports are “completely false.” more..

Lebanon is to open gates for male laborers of Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (SLBC) The government of Lebanon has introduced new laws to strengthen the safety and rights of its migrant workers. A delegation of the Labour Ministry of Lebanon recently met with Sri Lankan Minister Athauda Seneviratne. They agreed to increase the minimum salary of a housemaid to 13 thousand rupees. more..

Be advised! Tigers do not represent the Tamils in Geneva

Feb 20 (ISL) The Ceasefire Talks scheduled to take place in Geneva February 22 and 23 is a powwow between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Wanni Tigers of an illegally held domain. At least, the government having been elected by the people can claim as speaking for the people and in fact they do so at this Geneva meet but the Tigers only speak for themselves and definitely not for the Tamils. more..

Investigation into abduction of fishermen

Feb 20 (LT) An extensive investigation has begun on a complaint made at Gurunagar Police by a group of fishermen that they had been abducted, detained and later released by members of wanni tiger organization. The incident, according to the complaint made by fishermen, had happened on the 15th and 20 fishermen were in the group that was abducted. more..

Anti aircraft ammunition in Wattala garbage dump

Feb 20 (LeN) A large stock of explosives including anti aircraft ammunition were recovered by Police from a garbage dump at Hunupitiya, Wattala this morning (19). Among the ammunition were a range of over 100 live bullets, ammunition for T-56 machine guns and hand grenades. more..

Let's not fight over meanings of words - President

Feb 20 (LeN) Even though the LTTE is the major partner with regard to the cease-fire agreement, other forces should also be allowed to represent the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people in the peace process, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stressed. more..

Mannar Bishop's failure to reveal his involvement in the arrest of three policemen regrettable

Feb 20 (AT) Some Sri Lanka Police officers attached to the National Child Protection Authority blamed the Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph for the ordeal and the mental agony they have undergone while they were held in custody by the LTTE because of his failure to reveal his involvement in the whole sordid episode. more..

Govt to take a positive stance on Sethusamudram ship canal project

Feb 20 (AT) Scientists and environmentalists from India and Sri Lanka are expected to meet soon for another round of discussion to look into possible environmental effects on Sri Lanka from the Sethusamudram ship canal project undertaken by the Government of India, a Sri Lankan expert involved in the process said. more..

Battle for CMC: UNP looking at contesting under an Independent group

Feb 20 (AT) Sri Lanka's main Opposition Party is mulling the possibility of contesting under an Independent group to secure their victory at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) during next month's local government elections scheduled for March 30, 2006. more..

The ten labours of Ellalan and defeating the Dutu Gemunu strategy

Feb 20 (TW) I have read with great interest Dr Rajasinghams thought provoking follow ups in ‘Tamilweek’, to my original article, as appeared in the Asian Tribune, of the 21st of October 2005. I would be grateful if I have the opportunity to endorse the views of Dr. Rajasingham, one of the few voices of reason among a babble of confusion, more..

Lanka on alert to fight bird flu

Feb 20 (TW) With India confirming its first bird flu infection, health authorities yesterday pledged to take aggressive measures to prevent the deadly virus from affecting Sri Lanka. Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit Director Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe told the Daily News that they were strengthening their plans to block the virus from entering the country more..

Sri Lankan team suggests changes to ceasefire pact

Feb 20 (Gulf) The government delegation is set to suggest amendments to the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) at the renewed peace negotiations with Tamil rebels of the LTTE commencing on Wednesday. The amendments are reported to have been drafted by a legal team headed by President's Counsel H.L. de Silva in consultation with the security forces, more..

A new sugar factory will be set up in Horowpthana

Feb 20 (SLBC) A new suger factory and a sugar cane plantation will soon be set up. Minister of farmer community development S.M.Chandrasena says a land of 2500 acres will be reserved in the Horowpathana for this purpose. Sugar canes will be planted in a land stretching upto 50,000 acres. more..

Fatal bus accident triggers unrest in Vavuniya

Feb 20 (TN) Ms Vjayaraj Patmalogini, 26, was killed on the spot and her daughter severely injured when a public bus heading to Okulankulam from Vavuniya town hit them at Vavuniya Good Shed road Monday 20th Feb. at 8.15 am, sources in Vavuniya said. more..

SLA strengthening security around key Jaffna bridges

Feb 20 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has increased its efforts in strengthening defences in several key positions around the main bridges connecting different regions, Vadamaradchy, Thenmaradchy, Valigamam and Jaffna Islets, with new bunkers, new sentry points and additional concertina wire fences, more..

TRO staffers in third week of captivity

Feb 20 (TN) Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, to mark the 20th day after the abduction of ten of TRO staffers, released documents detailing the activities of the TRO workers in the areas of Pre School development and Children Homes. Three of the staffers have been released while the seven still remain in captivity more..

CWC conditional support for Govt.

Feb 20 (WS) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) has decided to extend conditional support to the United People's Freedom Alliance Government from here onwards. The Congress's Vice President R. Yogarajan told the Weekend Standard that the CWC will however continue to be an independent party but will support the Government in most issues. more..

More & more destructive claymore mines, hand grenades, ammunition & detonators apprehended

Feb 20 (SLA) CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE and preventive combined search & clear operations continue to find more and more deadly explosives, arms and ammunition either kept hidden or left behind by terrorist elements operating in the northeast and elsewhere, the latest being the recovery of ten Hand Grenades from NAVATHTHURAI, more..

Pistol Men Shoot And Injure Youth

Feb 20 (SLA) TWO SUSPECTED LTTE PISTOL MEN called out a youngster from his home at VANDARAMOOLAI area in BATTICALOA Monday (20) morning around 6.30 a.m. and shot him at close range before they fled the area. According to Police information, two suspected LTTE pistol men reached the gate at his house and shot at KAILASAPILLAI RAVEENDRAN (21) more..

JVP kicks off its campaign on Feb.24

Feb 20 (WS) The JVP will kick off its local government election campaign with a series of countrywide rallies commencing on February 24 at Anuradhapura, Prasanna Adikari head of the party's media unit told 'Weekend Standard'. The JVP has handed over its nominations to contest 22 districts fielding a total of 4914 candidates. more..

Air pollution is killing us

Feb 20 (WS) The rapidly increasing vehicle population and fuel consumption particularly diesel, high proportion of old vehicles and poor vehicle maintenance; absence of clean fuel, and the high rate of urbanization are contributing to dangerous pollution levels in Sri Lanka. more..

No ‘soft flying’ for Lasanthe!

Feb 20 (LT) Lasanthe Wickremathunga, editor of ‘Sunday Leader’, had to face certain obstacles on his way to Geneva today. When his passport was entered to the computer for clearance at BIA, the alarm that sounds for persona-non-grata was set off and the officers detained him for questioning. more..

Legal advice sought for Kadirgamar case

Feb 20 (LT) It has been decided to seek legal advice regarding court proceeding of Kadirgamar murder case. Six suspects have been remanded and CID has taken steps to make available statements taken from them and information confirmed by investigations to Attorney General’s office. more..

Geneva bound drunken ministerial wife

Feb 20 (LeN) It is reported that Minister Rohitha Bogollagamamone of the delegates of the Government negotiating team had left for Geneva with his wife and children last night (18) well in advance of other members of the team. He had arrived late in the Katunayake airport much to the annoyance of fellow passengers as the flight was delayed until his arrival and his vixenish wife was intoxicated to boot. more..

JVP extends greetings for peace delegation

Feb 20 (LeN) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, one of the most vociferous critics of the LTTE and the Norway's role as the facilitator of the peace process and which stood firm that the peace talks should only be held in an Asian country, has extended best wishes for the government negotiating team. more..

No cooperation without separate Muslim delegation - Hakeem

Feb 20 (LM) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which was prevented from contesting the upcoming local government elections under its own symbol by a court order has fielded its candidates as independent groups under the butterfly symbol for three Municipal Councils, commenced its election campaign yesterday in Colombo. more..

Mahinda wants more Tamil parties to join peace process

Feb 20 (GT) President Mahinda Rajapakse, who held an all-party conference on Friday, said that despite the LTTE being one stake holder in the peace process there should also be room for other movements and parties representing the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people. more..

High drama galore in UNP camp

Feb 20 (WS) The main subject of discussion last week was the preparation of nomination papers for the forthcoming Local Government elections despite the fact that there were many problems, conflicts and crises in the political arena. more..

Maharaja pressure comes a cropper?

Feb 20 (WS) All efforts by the Maharajah group and those who pushed for the candidature of B. Sirisena Cooray ended in failure Thursday when the Elections Secretariat rejected the UNP nominations list to contest the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) at the March 30th local government elections. more..

SLMC protests against Ferial's peace mission: NUA member tells to stop acting 'silly'

Feb 20 (AT) The country's pre dominant Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has expressed their 'displeasure' over National Unity Alliance (NUA) leader Ferial Ashraff's decision to be part of the Government delegation at this week's peace talks in Geneva. more..

All set for truce talks in Geneva

Feb 20 (PIS) The Government will sit with the LTTE for the first time after three years and 14 days in Geneva on Wednesday and Thursday. Arrangements are now being finalised for the two-day talks. The talks, aimed at strengthening the ceasefire, incidentally mark its fourth anniversary. The Ceasefire Agreement was signed on February 22, 2002. more..

Lanka expects co-chairs to guarantee Tigers' commitment to peace process

Feb 20 (PIS) The government expects co-chairs to the Tokyo Donor Conference, namely, the US, 25-nation block EU under Austrian leadership, Japan and the peace facilitator Norway to prevent the Tigers from quitting the peace process on false pretext. more..

Kumaratunga vows to battle on

Feb 20 (SAMN) Amidst reports of a possible change in the SLFP leadership and with the party now badly hit by the loss of its Gampaha bastion at the local polls, Party Leader and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said Sunday she had “not thought even in her wildest dreams of letting go of the top post, as yet”. more..

LTTE delegation welcomed in Geneva

Feb 20 (SAMN) The LTTE peace delegation led by the political head S.P Thamilchelvam which arrived in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday for peace talks with the Sri Lankan Government received a rousing welcome from Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates in the country. more..

1000 teachers for election work?

Feb 20 (SAMN) A teachers’ union alleged that more than 1000 teachers had been attached to Zonal Education Offices by the provincial education authorities to carry out political work in relation to the forthcoming local government polls. more..

SLMM team in Geneva today

Feb 20 (LNP) The Chief of SLMM Hagrup Haukland and spokesperson of the Mission, Helen Olafsdottir, will be in Geneva today to participate in the ceasefire talks to be held between Government and the LTTE. Olafsdottir told the Daily News yesterday that herself and SLMM chief Haukland will participate the talks. more..

Nine wild elephants killed in January

Feb 20 (LNP) According to the Wild Life Department`s latest statistics nine wild elephants have fallen prey to human activities involved in the Northwest Wild Life Zone, within the first month of the current year. A wild Life spokesman said these killings were reported from K Thirappane, Tantirimale, Bulankulama and Walagambahuwa more..