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Colombo Port handles its biggest ever vessel

Feb 20 (LNP) Colombo port last week successfully handled its biggest ever and brand new vessel Mv. Ever Chivalry owned by global giant Evergreen Lines of Taiwan. Built by Samsung Heavy Industries of South Korea, the ship has a capacity of 8,073 TEUs. She was built in January 2006 and has a length of 333,993 metres and sails under the flag of Marshell Islands. more..

Students killings: Court calls for JMOs report on STF suspects

Feb 20 (DN) Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Ms. Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena directed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), probing the killing of five students in Trincomalee, to obtain a JMO's report of the 13 STF suspects who are detained in connection with the killing. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to learn disaster management from Malaysia

Feb 20 (Bernama) Sri Lanka is amazed by Malaysia's capability in handling natural disasters and wishes to learn our methods, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said. "The Sri Lankan government has asked us to help it by providing training for its officers in disaster management," he told reporters more..

Minister to facilitate reopening of Jaffna campus

Feb 20 (TN) Minister of Education, Mr.Susil Premajayanth, who met with a delegation of Deans of the Jaffna University led by its Vice Chancellor Professor Mr. C.Mohanathas during the weekend has assured the delegation that he will make every effort to bring normalcy to the areas surrounding the Jaffna Campus enabling the Jaffna Campus to reopen within two weeks, more..

Sri Lanka bans poultry imports from India

Feb 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka has included India into its growing list of banned imports of poultry meat and all its by-products after bird flu was reported in Maharashtra, an official said today. "Indian poultry have been affected by bird flu and that still poses a threat to the local industry," Dr S K Amarasekera, Director General, Animal Production and Health Department said. more..

LTTE’s label as terrorists well justified

Feb 20 (MD) I commend Prof P Ramasamy on his stance against violence. Indeed, he may have won more to his cause if he had explicitly established this position in his earlier articles. I have not forgotten the roots of the Sri Lankan conflict and while I abhor violence, I will admit that there are situations in which a community is forced to defend its way of life. more..

Tough task ahead for Lankan negotiators

Feb 20 (HT) The Sri Lankan government's negotiating team is going to face many challenges when it meets the LTTE militants across the table in Geneva on February 22 and 23 to discuss the implementation of the controversial 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). more..

Sri Lanka fears bird flu may hit rebel areas

Feb 20 (Reuters) Diseased chickens smuggled by boat from India might carry bird flu to rebel Tamil Tiger held areas in Sri Lanka, an official said on Monday, after its neighbour reported its first case of bird flu in poultry. LTTE in control of much of Sri Lanka's north -- the closest area to India and a likely first point of arrival for birds with a lethal strain of flu. more..

LTTE team has no mandate to review truce pact

Feb 20 (HT) The LTTE's chief negotiator, Anton Balasingham, has made it clear that his team has no mandate to review or revise the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) at the talks with the Sri Lankan government at Geneva on February 22 and 23. Colombo, however, is keen on reviewing and revising the agreement, on the grounds that it is biased in favour of the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka envoys play down expectations from talks

Feb 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan peace envoys flew to Switzerland on Monday for crunch talks with the Tamil Tigers this week aimed at preserving a four-year truce and averting a slide back to civil war, but played down any hope of a quick fix. more..

Sri Lanka canter to five-wicket win

Feb 20 (CI) Sri Lanka seized control of the first one-dayer with a fine bowling performance as Bangladesh were bundled out for a meagre total at the Bogra District Stadium. The bowlers were helped along by some rash batting as the batsmen flashed at swinging deliveries, ran down the track, swished, and prodded their way to disaster. more..

Explosives found inside passenger bus, police detain 47 people

Feb 20 (AP) Police found two powerful anti-personnel mines inside a passenger bus traveling from northern Sri Lanka, which officials said Monday they suspect were being transported to the capital by Tamil Tiger rebels. The bus was heading to Colombo from the northern town of Vavuniya on Sunday night when it was stopped at a road block in Saliyawewa village in Puttalam district, more..

Renegade Sri Lanka rebels won't disarm yet

Feb 20 (Reuters) A breakaway Sri Lankan rebel leader, whose feuding with the Tamil Tigers is threatening a fragile ceasefire and is central to peace talks this week, said on Monday his forces would only disarm if the main group does. more..

Peace off the menu at Sri Lanka talks in Geneva

Feb 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's warring parties meet this week for their first face-to-face talks in three years hoping to salvage their faltering truce, but a political settlement to their decades-old conflict will not be up for discussion. more..

Sri Lankan Media Continues to be a Target of Oppression and Assault

Feb 21 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has concerns for freedom of expression in Sri Lanka following a series of reports that the media continues to suffer from acts of oppression and assault. Police summoned and interrogated members of the Sinhala-language weekly Irudina, and its English counterpart, The Sunday Leader, on February 10, 2006. more..

Tamil parties welcome President's bold decision

Feb 21 (RW) PLOTE leader D. Sidhdharthan has welcomed the stand of President Mahinda Rajapakse on the talks. Commenting on the President's address to the All Party Conference held on Friday (16) at the Presidential Secretariat, the PLOTE leader said all the political parties should be consulted before arriving at a consensus. more..

Trapped in the Claws of the Tigers in Norway

Feb 21 (ISL) The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka will meet in Geneva next week for peace talks. Norway’s Minister of Development Cooperation Erik Solheim has attempted over the last few years to end the conflict, which has led to the loss of over 60,000 lives. more..

Sunday Leader editor "harassed"

Feb 21 (BBC) Authorities in Sri Lanka have briefly detained Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga at the Katunayake international airport before boarding a Geneva bound flight. The journalist was to leave for Switzerland to cover the talks between the government and the Tamil Tigers. more..

Trinco student killing report submitted

Feb 21 (BBC) Police in the eastern Sri Lankan town of Trincomalee have submitted an interim report on killing five Tamil students allegedly by the security forces. The report produced by Trincomalee police to magistrate Rama Kamalan includes eye witness accounts by two wounded students and 14 others. more..

"Do not panic" on Bird flu

Feb 21 (BBC) The deadly bird flu will not spread to humans through eating chicken though Sri Lanka may not be spared from the virus that killed nearly 80 people all over the world, scientists said. Prof. Malik Peiris of Department of Microbiology at University of Hong Kong urged Sri Lankans not to panic as the deadly disease is not reported from the South Asian Island. more..

SB seeks new UNP leadership

Feb 21 (BBC) The controversial former minister SB Dissanayake has strongly criticised the conduct of the leadership of Sri Lanka’s main opposition, United National Party (UNP). Former Samurdhi, Agriculture and Sports minister called for changes in the UNP hierarchy that cost the parts 13 defeats. more..

Colonel Karuna demands the disarming of LTTE

Feb 21 (AT) V.Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna, leader of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal has demanded the disarmament of the LTTE under international supervision. "It is important that LTTE too must hand over its weapons at the same time under international supervision," Karuna said. more..

Ranil writes to President: Don't dissolve existing local government bodies

Feb 21 (AT) As the country prepares for the March 30 Local Polls, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday wrote to President Mahinda Rajapakse requesting not to dissolve the existing local government bodies under emergency regulations. more..

LTTE threatens to kill liberal Tamil leader in Norway

Feb 21 (AT) The LTTE issued a death warning to Mr Sivarajah Rajasingham, leader of the Liberal Democratic Tamils in Norway, an organization dedicated for protection of human rights. He said that a LTTE cadre pointed a pistol at him outside his house in Furuset, a suburb of Oslo and threatened to kill him unless he stopped his “anti-LTTE activities immediately.” more..

Sri Lanka moots Buddhist pilgrimage trail

Feb 21 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has mooted the idea of a Buddhist pilgrimage trail to attract tourists from China, Japan and Korea. Its Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike told The Hindu that Nepal, India and Sri Lanka had the potential to attract tourists from these countries if they got their act together. more..

Attempt to halt 'Sunday Leader' editor's visit to Geneva on orders from top

Feb 21 (LeN) 'Sunday Leader' editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, who went to the Katunayake airport this morning to board a flight to Geneva as the reporter of the Sirasa and MTV media network of the peace talks between the government and the LTTE had been blocked by Immigration and Emigration officials claiming that he could not be allowed to leave the country without a CID report. more..

CBK asks the court to take back the gift land

Feb 21 (LeN) As ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga has decided not to accept the one and a half acre land gifted to her from Diyawanna Oya, Kotte on Cabinet approval, her attorney Gaston Jayakody today informed the court to return the land back to the government. more..

SLDF Demands Human Rights Protection In North East

Feb 21 (ISL) The Sri Lanka Democracy Forum called on the Government, the LTTE, the Norwegian facilitators and the international community to ensure the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) at the upcoming talks in Geneva, with a focus on the protection of civilians through the human rights provisions in the CFA more..

Karuna launches major website to expose LTTE

Feb 21 (ISL) Break-away leader of LTTE Col.Karuna has launched a website recently. Karuna’s website is named The early stages of the website show wide variety of news and articles in Tamil and English. Though some of them are reproduced from other websites, the objective of the website appears to be clear, that more..

Rolling up the Electoral Map

Feb 21 (WS) Shortly after winning the Presidential election of 1982, after the Third Amendment to the Constitution had allowed it to be held over a year earlier than originally due, JR sprang upon the nation his Fourth Amendment, in what was indubitably the worst and most destructive act of a dastardly career. more..

Building bridges between the North and the South: Journalists journey to Jaffna

Feb 21 (TW) We finished a delicious dinner of piping hot naan accompanied by spicy chicken curry, tender mutton and bean curd. Suddenly, we remembered that our trishaw driver had promised to wait for us outside the gate. more..

Protest against LTTE in Geneva

Feb 21 (AT) The peaceful Swiss city of Geneva will witness a very peaceful march for peace on Wednesday, as the peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE begins. Hundreds of Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and their European friends will demonstrate against the blatant violations of the ceasefire by the LTTE. more..

Mannar fisherman found dead

Feb 21 (TN) The body Mr. James Julie Peiris, 34, a Tamil fisherman and a father of a child who failed to return from the sea on February 18th evening was found washed ashore in the Talaimannar Pier Monday morning. Fellow fishermen identified the body as of missing Mr. Peiris. more..

SLN harassment on the rise, say Jaffna Fisheries Officials

Feb 21 (TN) Fishing boats, nets and other accessories belonging to more than hundred fishermen from Vadamaradchy North coastal villages were damaged by the Sri Lanka Navy soldiers Sunday, Fisheries Union officials in Jaffna said. Fisheries union officials Monday morning handed over memoranda to several organizations in Jaffna more..

Sri Lanka arrests Indonesian trawler

Feb 21 (Xinhua) An Indonesian fishing trawler was arrested in southern Sri Lanka, police said Monday. The harbour police in the southern port town of Galle said that the trawler with 16 people on board had been arrested in the seas 50 nautical miles off the Galle coast. more..

Consciousness of the people can win any challenge – Weerawansa

Feb 21 (LT) The information secretary of the JVP Wimal Weerawansa said in Malsiripura, Kurunegala at an opening ceremony of a housing scheme named “Dirijayapura” that the main crisis before the country is the ignorance of the peoples and we can win any challenge if the people are conscious and well informed. more..

Army refutes “Tamilnet” story attributing to ltte media coordinator

Feb 21 (SLA) THE ATTENTION OF THE SRI LANKA ARMY is drawn to a pro-LTTE TamilNet Website story datelined Monday, in which LTTE’s Media Coordinator Daya Master was quoted saying that an alleged Deep Penetration Unit of the Army who intruded the un-cleared area of Mahilankulam, 25 km southeast of Mannar near Illupaikulam had left behind a claymore mine when intercepted by the LTTE. more..

Revised A/L results discriminate Tamil students- CTTU

Feb 21 (TN) Changes in the Advanced Level examination results announced by Department of Examinations have decreased the ranks obtained by Tamil medium candidates from the previously announced computerized results at national and district level thus depriving their chances of Tamil students to enter Medicine and Engineering, more..

Risk awareness training for NorthEast journalists held

Feb 21 (TN) Two sessions of two-day risk awareness training for journalists, the first session for 25 Jaffna journalists in Colombo, and the second for journalists from the Batticaloa, Amparai and Vavuniya, at Sigiriya village in the North Central Province, organized by the International News Safety Institute (INSI), concluded Sunday, sources said. more..

European Union welcomes Geneva talks

Feb 21 (TN) European Commission Delegation in Sri Lanka in a press release issued Tuesday, welcomed the February 22- 23 discussions between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE and described the talks as "an opportunity to restore confidence in the Ceasefire Agreement and move forward towards a peaceful future." more..

Blackout threat tomorrow

Feb 21 (LM) With CEB trade unions set to launch a work stoppage from tomorrow, Sri Lanka is on the verge of facing a total or partial disruption to the power supply, a union official said. CEB trade union convenor Ranjan Jayalal told that the intended work stoppage followed the government's failure to implement a salary hike according to a circular issued in 2003 more..

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner's Geneva trip terminated!

Feb 21 (LT) Although EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner of the European Union was scheduled to arrive in Geneva her trip was cancelled at the last moment. This had been decided by the European Union. more..

Swiss Government strict on LTTE taking additional advantages

Feb 21 (LT) According to state media sources the Swiss Government has taken steps to evade any action for extra benefits to the LTTE while the talks are held in Geneva. It is the posture of the Swiss Government to preclude fund raising or collective meetings of the tiger organization. more..

Free A9: Kandy-Jaffna Freeway is not a Kappang Highway

Feb 21 (ISL) On the Freeway A9 between Kandy and Jaffna there is a stretch of the road beyond Omantai and past Pallai a place called Muhamalai, which is not a freeway. On either side of both ends are a bit of no-man land with the armed cadres of the LTTE many of them bare teenagers and security personnel from the Sri Lankan Army at constant stares at each other. more..

Sri Lanka to make maximum use of Geneva talks with Tigers: official

Feb 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government would endeavor to make the full use of the Geneva talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels, the head of the government peace delegation said Monday. Nimal Siripala De Silva, said prior to his departure here, "We are hoping to make the best use of the opportunity in order to try and achieve lasting peace in the country." more..

Tamil groups stage peace demo in London

Feb 21 (PIS) Supporters of Tamil political parties staged a massive demonstration at Trafalgar Square in Central London on Sunday calling for “peace with democracy and justice in Sri Lanka”. Representatives of the TULF, The Tamil Democratic Congress, The Tamil Women's League, The Sri Lanka Muslim Information Centre and the Committee for Democracy and Justice in Sri Lanka took part in the demonstration, more..

Colombo to be firm in Chateau de Bossey

Feb 21 (PIS) Contrary to press reports in Sri Lanka, Colombo is to take a hard negotiating position against the LTTE when they meet on the 22nd in the Chateau de Bossey, in Celigny, north western Switzerland. The Sri Lankan delegation arrived on Monday and took up residence in the Chateau in the afternoon. Minister, Nimal Siripala De Silva''s role is to be restricted to delivering the opening speech. more..

Plantation industry running out of time

Feb 21 (SAMN) The plantation industry is running out of time to gain entry to the European market armed with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification. HACCP is a pro-active process control system by which food quality is ensured. This system has been adopted by many countries around the world and is mandatory in some countries. more..

Lottery funds to be invested in housing

Feb 21 (SAMN) Construction of houses for 1000 poor families wilcommence on 01st of March with the Assistance of Rs. 100 million provided by the Sevana Lottery. Sevana Lottery has provided Rs. 100 million to construct houses for 1000 poor families under the Jana Sevana National Housing Programme of the Mahinda Chinthana policy. more..

Prisoner release: JHU takes swipe at swap

Feb 21 (LNP) The JHU yesterday protested against the prisoner swap between the government and the LTTE. JHU general secretary Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera urged the government not to repeat the mistake of trying to appease the LTTE by releasing its cadres who were under arrest. more..