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5000 police personnel to be promoted

Feb 24 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sought special Cabinet approval to immediately promote some 5000 police personnel, though the National Police Commission is yet to be reconstituted. President’s move came following dissatisfaction expressed by a large number of lower- ranking police officers whose promotions had been delayed. more..

Nearly 6 per cent births unregistered

Feb 24 (SAMN) Nearly six per cent of births go unregistered, according to a recent study by Plan Sri Lanka. Country Director Plan Sri Lanka Mingming Evora said that vulnerable sections in the Sri Lankan society such as internally displaced people, street children and families, refugee returnees, gypsies and estate workers have the lowest rate of birth registration. more..

President remote-controls Geneva talks

Feb 24 (SAMN) Though the ceasefire talks took place in Geneva, Temple Trees was also abuzz with the JVP stalwarts and some Ministry Secretaries joining President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was busy offering advice, time and again, to the negotiating team in Geneva. more..

Population decline serious threat: PM

Feb 24 (SAMN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said certain foreign powers and groups from our own community were attempting to make the Sinhalese a minority in this country. The premier made this statement at the `aktha pathra` presentation ceremony more..

Power stations declared special security zones

Feb 24 (LNP) The government has drawn up special plans to protect the country`s hydro-power stations and the people has been asked to avoid visiting power stations. In a bid to ensure the safety of power stations, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne yesterday appealed to the public not to rent out homes or provide accommodation to unknown people in areas near power stations. more..

Top UNPers to quit over botched list

Feb 24 (LNP) Two senior UNP frontliners, both former ministers, are on the mat over the bungled Colombo Municipal Council nominations list, Sirikotha sources said. They are likely to resign from the party positions they hold. A Sirikotha source said yesterday (23) these two persons had worked against the UNP`s candidate during the last Presidential election campaign and more..

90 per cent local films "Adults Only"

Feb 24 (DN) Nearly 90 per cent of films screened locally bear the 'adults only' tag and it is vital that public opinion is sought in this regard, Chairman National Film Corporation (NFC) Attorney-at-law Asoka Serasinghe said. He was addressing a press conference at the NFC on Tuesday. more..

China to provide rail carriages to Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (Xinhua) China National Machinery Import and Export corporation (CMC) on Friday signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan Railway Department to provide 100 rail carriages to Sri Lanka. Zhao Jun, General Manager of Railway Business Division of CMC, and K.A. Premasiri, General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways Department signed the agreement at the department. more..

Analysis: Deal could save Sri Lanka truce

Feb 24 (BBC) A last-minute agreement by Sri Lanka's warring sides to curb violence is seen as a crucial deal which could save the fragile ceasefire but tensions could return if violence continues on the ground. Prior to the Geneva talks, few were optimistic about the possibility of a deal as both the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels argued from well entrenched positions. more..

Swiss Government welcomes positive outcome of Geneva talks

Feb 24 (TN) Welcoming the positive outcome of the talks in Geneva between the Liberation Tigers and the Government of Sri Lanka, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Government of Switzerland in a press release issued from Berne Thursday said, that it "voices the expectation that the parties to the conflict will respect the agreement they have concluded." more..

Mysterious flu alarms Manipay school

Feb 24 (TN) Seventy three girl students at Manipay Hindu College, Jaffna were taken to Jaffna Teaching Hospital Thursday after falling ill with fever and headache, education officials in Jaffna said. Although initially food poistioning was suspected as the cause of the illness, Regional Directional Health Service, Dr A Ketheeswaran, said it was likely to be a viral infection, health officials said. more..

Lanka, LTTE agree to stop violence

Feb 24 (HT) In a major breakthrough at the Geneva talks on Thursday, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government agreed to stop killings, abductions, intimidation and violence, and to meet again on April 19. Assisted by peace maker Norway, the two parties had met to discuss the implementation of the controversial February 22, 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) more..

Chicken consumption drops in Sri Lanka amid fears of bird flu

Feb 24 (AP) Sri Lanka's poultry farmers are seeing a drop in sales as fears of bird flu escalate after a recent outbreak in neighboring India prompted the culling of hundreds of thousands of birds, an official said Friday. Chicken sales have fallen 10 percent since the outbreak in western India last week, D.D. Wanasinghe, head of the local poultry farmers association, said. more..

Sri Lanka says no bird flu found as migratory birds under surveillance

Feb 24 (AP) The government said Friday it hasn't detected any cases of bird flu as health experts monitored areas where hundreds of thousands of migratory birds from Europe spend the winter. About 200 migratory birds have been tested so far at several lakes, swamps and forests where birds from Europe reside from October to March. more..

Sri Lanka talks deal welcomed, dangers remain

Feb 24 (Reuters) Talks between Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels in Switzerland have again held off a return to civil war, analysts and diplomats said on Friday, but much would depend on whether the parties kept their word. more..

Sri Lanka climbs down at Swiss talks to save peace bid

Feb 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka's warring parties were set to leave here after two days of talks that prevented the island from sliding back to violence, at least for two months, diplomats said. The Sri Lankan government entered the negotiations with a demand for a brand new ceasefire, but climbed down amid growing foreign pressure to save the Norwegian-led and internationally-backed peace process, more..

Sri Lanka accuses rebels of violating truce

Feb 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan Army has accused the Tamil Tiger rebels of building bunkers in the north in violation of the ongoing truce agreement. A report posted on the Army website here Friday said the LTTE had built bunkers on either side of A9 highway linking the capital Colombo and the northern city of Jaffna ahead of the forward defense lines at Omanthai. more..

Sri Lankans welcome outcome of Geneva talks

Feb 24 (AFP) Residents in the troubled north and east of Sri Lanka welcomed the outcome of talks in Geneva between the Colombo government and Tamil tiger rebels, saying it boosted hopes of peace. "Good news and a sigh of relief," said 40-year-old Sivathasan Sivajeevan by telephone, summing up the mood in northern Jaffna town. more..

Tigers threatened walkout at Swiss talks: negotiator

Feb 24 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels extracted an agreement from Sri Lanka to uphold a controversial truce after threatening to walk out of talks, the top rebel negotiator told AFP. The rebel LTTE said Friday they were ready to storm out of discussions in a chateau in this Swiss village when Colombo insisted on amending the Norwegian-brokered 2002 truce. more..

Two Sri Lankan ministers to visit Malaysia next week

Feb 25 (Bernama) Two Sri Lankan ministers will visit Malaysia on Feb 26 to conduct trade meetings with local investors interested to invest in Sri Lanka. They are Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who is also Minister of Trade and Commerce, Consumer Affairs. more..

China hopes Sri Lankan govt, LTTE reach reconciliation

Feb 25 (PTI) China today welcomed the resumption of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE rebels and hoped it would lead to national reconciliation. China welcomes the resumption of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said here in a statement. more..

Talks "difficult" but "open"

Feb 25 (BBC) Talks between the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Tamil Tigers in Geneva were “difficult” but the parties expressed satisfaction on the agreement to halt violence that brought the country to the brink of the civil war. Head of the GOSL team, minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told BBC Sandeshaya that the team was happy that the parites agreed to hold one more round of talks within weeks. more..

Govt. challenged to reveal CFA policy

Feb 25 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka, UNP, has challenged the government to reveal the actual policy on Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed with the Tamil Tigers. UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said the government’s attempts in Geneva to portray the CFA as illegal have failed as the parties have agreed to implement it after the two-day talks. more..

Lanka Tamils divided over talks

Feb 25 (BBC) Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka are divided over the outcome of the talks between the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva, Switzerland. Dharmalingam Siddharthan, leader of the Peoples Liberation Organisation for Tamil Ealam (PLOTE), welcomed the agreement to implement the CFA by the parties. more..

Interim injunction for Colombo mini polls

Feb 25 (LT) An interim injunction order was issued preventing the polls to Colombo Municipality being held on the 30th March. The Appeal Court also suspended the order given by the assistant returning officer rejecting the nomination papers of the UNP for Colombo Municipality. more..

Peace holds in Sri Lanka, for the time being

Feb 25 (Hindu) "POLITICS," CHAIRMAN Mao famously said in 1938, "is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed." Sri Lanka's latest politics of war and peace was set in an Alpine chateau in Switzerland, where the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ended yet another round of direct talks on Thursday. more..

Clerk interdicted on fraud, an owner of Prado jeep

Feb 25 (LeN) Two employees of the Foreign Employment Bureau have been interdicted over the omission of names from the original list of persons to be sent to South Korea and replacing them with new names. One of the interdicted employees is said to be a relative of a Cabinet Minister and an owner of a Prado jeep. more..

Why have they agreed to uphold the cease-fire which they claimed was unconstitutional? -Ranil

Feb 25 (LeN) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Colombo today (24) that in accordance with the joint statement issued by the government and the LTTE at the end of the Geneva talks, in which they agreed to uphold and abide by the cease-fire agreement, the stand adopted by him has been proven true and correct. more..

Ceasefire Agreement – Child Soldiers – LTTE and International Law

Feb 25 (AT) On July 26, 2005, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1612, the sixth in a series of resolutions pertaining to children and armed conflict. Resolution 1612 establishes the first comprehensive monitoring and reporting system to enforce compliance among those groups, such as LTTE, using children in situations of armed conflict. more..

Two-day of rigmarole ended in Geneva: People are the losers

Feb 25 (AT) The Talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE ended on 23 February with a note -may be optimistic or pessimistic, about which I dare not wish to gamble. The reality was, in the midst of uncertainties, at last the Talks were held, again in the midst of two days of uncertainties, the talks ended and the parties to the conflict have agreed to meet again in Geneva in April. more..

Maha Sivarathiri to be observed in historic Sivan Temples

Feb 25 (TN) Maha Sivarathiri Day religious observance is to be held in the historic Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple, Thiruketheeswaram Temple in Mannar and Kantalai Choleeswaram (Siva) Temple, about 20 km southwest off Trincomalee town on February 26th Sunday night. more..

Muslims hold protest in Mannar, Akkaraipattu

Feb 25 (TN) Several hundreds Muslims held demonstrations in Mannar town in the north and Akkaraipattu in the east Friday afternoon after Jumma prayers against the publication of a caricature by the newspaper in Denmark defaming Prophet Mohamed. Muslim protestors shouted slogans and carried placards against Denmark and went in a procession through Sinnakadai, and Uppukulam. more..

Transport of essential items to Un-cleared areas continues

Feb 25 (SLA) 1,966 lorry loads of food and other essential items had been dispatched to un-cleared areas in the northern province during the period between 17 February 2006 and 23 February 2006. Those consignments had reached areas in KILINOCHCHI and MULLAITIVU districts via OMANTHAI and UYILANKULAM Entry/Exit points. more..

State shipping carrier floats new feeder service, plans to buy fuel tanker

Feb 25 (LBO) State-run shipping carrier is floating its own service to tap the feeder business in the Indian subcontinent and plans to tap commercial banks to buy a tanker later this year, top official said Monday. Initially, Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC), will charter two vessels each having capacity to carry 1,000 TEU’s (twenty foot equivalent units). more..

Sri Lankan peace talks stagger on to another round

Feb 25 (wsws) Two days of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE—the first in nearly three years—broke up in Geneva on Thursday without any substantive agreement. A brief official statement declared that both sides were committed to upholding the current ceasefire agreement signed in 2002 and to meet again on April 19-21. more..

Tiger Front Holding European Parliament Meeting

Feb 25 (ISL) It is now confirmed that Geneva based LTTE front Tamil Centre for Human Rights (TCHR) will be conducting a public meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on 7 March 2006. The head of TCHR is Mrs Diedre Kirupakaran who is married to the former LTTE fund collector Kirupakaran based in Paris. more..

SLMC's application against the enjoining order taken up

Feb 25 (LM) An application by the SLMC against the enjoining order issued against the party leader Rauff Hakeem and its Secretary General Hasen Ali was taken up for support in the District Court of Colombo today. President's counsel Mr.Romesh de Silva made submissions on behalf of SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and President's counsel Mr. Ikram Mohamed made submissions on behalf of Mr. Hasen Ali. more..

Tamil Tigers may begin political work in cleared areas

Feb 25 (ANN) The two-day truce talks between the Sri Lankan government, the LTTE and Norwegian facilitators was concluded on Thursday (Feb 23) with a classic textbook win-win scenario of conflict resolution. All the parties got a little of what they wanted, including the Norwegians. more..

UDA stands in way of new skyscraper

Feb 25 (WS) A multi-billion dollar skyscraper project has been kept on 'hold' for some mysterious reason by the Urban Development Authority (UDA), while its promoters and top Government ministers are losing patience. This project if approved will even overtake the Ceylinco currently under construction Celestial Residencies which has been earmarked as the tallest building in the country as of now. more..

Powerful UNP group wants report kept under wraps

Feb 25 (WS) A powerful section of the UNP is exerting pressure on the party leadership not to publish the findings of the two member committee which probed the fiasco where the party's nomination list for the Colombo Municipal Council election was rejected. They have insisted that its publication would lead to a serious split in the party. more..

Coup to oust Hakeem from SLMC leadership?

Feb 25 (WS) Dissidents of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) are contemplating a coup of their former party by ousting its present leader Rauff Hakeem and other hierarchy members. Most of these rebels who left the SLMC due to 'differences of opinion' with the party leadership are now 'very seriously' mulling the possibility of ousting Hakeem more..

Is SB the new challenge?

Feb 25 (WS) The most important political event over the past week was the Geneva peace talks which mainly focused on the continuation of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE on a more systematic basis. However, much more than the peace talks the important political topic among political circles this week was the crisis that had arisen inside the UNP following the release of S.B. Dissanayake from jail. more..

Coordinated naval patrolling formalised

Feb 25 (Hindu) The `coordinated patrolling', which the Indian and Sri Lankan navies have taken up along the International Maritime Boundary Line, has been formalised. Officers of both navies met on Thursday to work out the arrangements, Eastern Naval Commander, Sureesh Mehta, told The Hindu here on Friday. more..

JHU non confrontational campaign

Feb 25 (WS) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), is organising a countrywide series of rallies to hammer home their policies to the masses in the lead up to the March 30 local government election, a party spokesman told the Weekend Standard. JHU leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera will spearhead the party election campaign more..

Facets of one-upmanship in Switzerland

Feb 25 (TW) Substance is not the same thing as form. Packaging is more important than what is inside. These are a couple of truisms that, lamentably, define this age of ours, the century of spectacle. And so, it is not surprising that the two parties facing each other for the first time in some three years are focused, as much or more on the wrapping paper of the discussion, as on the agenda itself. more..

Hostile stares to handshakes: Another chance for peace

Feb 25 (TW) Anton Balasingham can smile after all. The stern, hard look he adorned on the opening day of the Geneva talks, had melted a day later into a cordial smile, whether it was because he had become more comfortable with his adversaries or if it was because he got what he wanted, is the key question. more..

Unitary and Federal States

Feb 25 (TW) The Minister of Constitutional Affairs has been quite rightly saying that we should now stop using labels like unitary, federal, united, etc. and get on with the task of peace making. It reminds me of my old civics teacher, in the school by the sea, the late K. Nesiah, who used to quote, "For forms of government, let fools contest, whatever is best administered is best". more..

Government sincere to the cause of peace

Feb 25 (DN) The Government is sincere to the cause of peace and Government negotiators under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapakse adopted a line of sincerity because the cause was peace, said the spokesman for the Government delegation Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. more..

Geneva CFA talks above expectations: Norway

Feb 25 (PIS) After two days of intense discussion and debate, the Government and the LTTE ended a crucial round of negotiations in Geneva with an outcome that saw concessions for both sides and a pledge to continue the process. Norwegian facilitator Erik Solheim described the talks as being above expectations. more..

Minister short circuits CEB unions

Feb 25 (LNP) The battle between the Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya (LVSS) and the Power and Energy Ministry deepened further yesterday when Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne told union leaders that he will not issue a circular with regard to monies that would be released before March 15. more..