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Tigers want cadres freed for SI`s release

Feb 25 (LNP) Sub Inspector Bopitigoda, held hostage by the LTTE, could be released if the government fulfilled the demands made for his release by LTTE political wing leader Thamil Selvan, spokesman for the rebel group in Kilinochchi, Daya Master said yesterday (24). more..

Geneva negotiations implementing the electoral mandate

Feb 25 (LNP) `The present Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) has failed on self-evident and empirical evidence, former DIG and Master in Public Administration, John F. Kennedy School of government, Harvard University, USA Gamini Gunawardene said at the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS), in association with the National Joint Committee and Sansadaya held an international conference in Colombo recently. more..

UNP to unveil campaign strategy

Feb 25 (SAMN) The UNP will announce its campaign strategy for the forthcoming local government polls on Monday, the party said Friday.General Secretary N.V.K.K. Weragoda told the Daily Mirror, the party had appointed a committee headed by Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya to lead the campaign. more..

Anomalies in tsunami aid distribution

Feb 25 (SAMN) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) said Friday, they have received unprecedented amount of complaints regarding malpractices in the distribution of tsunami aid across the country. more..

Kumaratunga’s guards out of Visumpaya

Feb 25 (SAMN) The tussle between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga took a new twist Friday when the ex President’s Security Division personnel residing at Ackland House - now known as Visumpaya - were ordered to vacate the premises. more..

Deeptha Leelaratne veteran journalist dies in Los Angeles

Feb 25 (G2L) Deeptha Leelaratne, (70) veteran journalist of the Lankadeepa of the former Times of Ceylon Ltd. and the Publisher and Editor of the Sri Lanka Express, the bi-weekly newspaper published in Los Angeles, died of a massive heart attack in his Tarzana home near Los Angeles during the night of February 22. more..

SLMC welcomes truce talks outcome

Feb 25 (DN) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) yesterday welcomed the outcome of the ceasefire talks. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali told the Daily News that the party welcomed the agreement reached by the Government and the LTTE to adhere to the regulations of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). more..

Sri Lanka to open trade office in Karachi

Feb 25 (APP) Sri Lanka has planned to open a trade office in Karachi to increase its tea market in Pakistan. This was stated by the Consul General of Sri Lanaka, Ms. Manel De Silva, in a meeting with President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Caudhry Muhammad Saeed here at Federation House, says FPCCI statement on Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka Defence Chief calls on President Musharraf

Feb 25 (APP) Admiral Days Sandagiri, Chief of Defence Staff, Sri Lanka, called on President General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday. Welcoming the distinguished visitor, the President expressed the hope that his visit would serve to enhance excellent relationship between the armed forces of two countries. more..

Sangakkara leads SL to series win

Feb 25 (CI) The celebratory mood of Bogra gave way to an introspective calm at Chittagong as Bangladesh, just coming off their first-ever one-day win against Sri Lanka, were brought hurtling down to earth. A superbly-paced century from Kumar Sangakkara inspired a rampaging Sri Lankan performance, helping them post a tall score and coast to a 78-run win. more..

Tamil Tiger rebel surrenders to Sri Lankan army, military says

Feb 25 (AP) A Tamil Tiger rebel has surrendered to the Sri Lankan army, a Defence Ministry official said on Saturday. The 20-year-old rebel, whose identity was withheld to protect his safety, had run away from a Tiger camp in eastern Sri Lanka and surrendered to the military in Kiran, Batticaloa district, more..

Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka's east demand homes

Feb 25 (Xinhua) A group of Tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka's eastern coast have staged a protest demonstration demanding early action to provide them with homes, police said Saturday. The police at Kalmunai, one of the badly devastated towns in the country's east coast by the Dec. 26, 2004 Tsunamis, said the group numbering around 150 people have been protesting for early action. more..

Tigers to discuss truce with Muslims

Feb 25 (Xinhua) The Tamil Tiger rebels say they would soon start talks with the minority Muslims on the Norwegian backed truce following their deliberations in Geneva with the government, according to the Tamil press reports here Saturday. The Tamil press quoted S.P. Thamilselvan, as saying that the Tigers intend talking to the Muslims. more..

Will Sri Lanka disarm Karuna?

Feb 25 (IANS) Sri Lanka's peace process has got a new lease of life following the Geneva talks with Tamil Tiger guerrillas but Colombo is faced with a daunting task: how to de-fang 'Colonel' Karuna? It is reliably learnt that the Sri Lankan government has promised Norway to disarm Karuna, who heads the breakaway faction of the LTTE and has emerged as the biggest headache for the guerrillas. more..

Lost in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (DH) Think about Sri Lanka and the least you would expect this land to be famous for is its food. For the less informed, Sri Lanka is just an extension of southern India, encircled by enormous streaks of blue. But there is more to its culture than its mythological link to India or a brigade of olive green-clad ‘freedom fighters’ filling up news spaces. more..

EU Commissioner’s participation at Brussels tiger meeting stopped

Feb 26 (LT) European Union has decided to stop Ms. Benita Ferrero-Waldner Commissioner of External Affairs of EU from participating at the seminar organized by Centre for Human Rights, a wanni tiger front organization, scheduled to be held in Brussels. more..

The Aborted Apotheosis of Sirisena Cooray

Feb 26 (WS) I have long been an admirer of Vasudeva Nanayakkara, though I am sure we would still disagree on many matters of ideology. Despite this, his total integrity and independence over such a long career in politics, along with his deep commitment to pluralism, have seemed unusually admirable. more..

The Thimpu Talks and the Vadamarachchi operation

Feb 26 (WS) Indira Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh body guards brought to an end her reign after little over 10 years at the topmost level in Indian politics but it did not bring an end to the Nheru-Gandhi political dynasty in India. Mrs. Gandhi had two sons, Rajiv the eldest and Sanjay the second. more..

Exaggerated production

Feb 26 (WS) The alleged detention of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga at the BIA on Monday, while he was on his way to Geneva to cover Sri Lankan peace talks, according to airport sources was an overly exaggerated production as all the international attention was on this country. more..

Dilemma of the Living Dead

Feb 26 (WS) On the 3rd of February, I was on night duty at the Intensive Care unit of a leading Hospital in Colombo. The I.C.U. has six beds. Bed number one is kept vacant for any emergency. A 38 year old fish vender from Grandpass with Cirrhosis of the Liver due to chronic alcoholism had vomited blood in the afternoon, with a Blood transfusion in progress was in bed 6. more..

Millions of tsunami funds embezzled- Bribery Commission

Feb 26 (LeN) Numerous complaints have been made to the Bribery and Corruption Commission regarding embezzlement and misappropriation of local and foreign aid amounting to millions of rupees received for tsunami recovery efforts, Investigating Director of the Commission, Superintendent of Police Neville Guruge said. more..

Mahinda clips Chandrika's wings

Feb 26 (LeN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga's staff has been pruned down to 27 and the treasury has notified that funds could not be allocated to pay allowances for her staff. The treasury comes under the purview of the Finance Ministry and the current Finance Minister is President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

President has no other struggle other than liberating the country from Norwegian grip- JVP

Feb 26 (LeN) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna has stressed that in keeping with the mandate received by the President, he should lead the 'struggle' to liberate the country from the Norwegian grip and not any other 'struggle'. This was stated in a communique issued by the JVP politburo on the Geneva talks. more..

LTTE's sudden concern for children

Feb 26 (AT) They say that all the people can be fooled for some time and some people all the time but not all the people all the time. But Prabhakaran's puppets have not given up trying to fool some people all the time. They will do it as long as dubious NGOs and the LTTE proxy, Tamil National Alliance, continue to color wash the Wanni Tigers. more..

Thousands march through Colombo to mark anniversary of truce with Tamil Tiger rebels

Feb 26 (AP) Thousands of people paraded through the streets of Sri Lanka's capital on Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of a truce that halted the island's civil war. The marchers, carrying lighted candles, also celebrated an agreement last week between the government and the LTTE, to salvage the truce, which had been threatened by a recent spike in attacks. more..

A Wish for Peace

Feb 26 (BBC) More than five hundred Buddhist priest gathered at the Ruwanwalisaya in Anuradhapura to meditate and wish for peace. Venerable Waligama Yanaratana, mahanayaka of the Amarapura Nikaya and Anunayakas of the Siyam and Ramanya nikayas participated in the “Adishtana Puja”. more..

Interview with Anton Balasingham

Feb 26 (TW) Government accepts CFA in toto and agrees to disarm paramilitary groups – Bala LTTE Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham in an interview with The Sunday Leader at the conclusion of the Geneva talks, explained the circumstances in which the talks were held, the issues discussed and the way forward for the parties. more..

Democratic Tamil Activist Arrested In Geneva

Feb 26 (ISL) V. Ramaraj, the Director of the Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) in United Kingdom and a leading Tamil democratic activist who has been covering Human Rights violations committed by the LTTE is being detained by the Swiss police under the charges made against him by LTTE activists in Geneva, according to sources from Geneva. more..

Komari’s miracle worker: big heart and iron will

Feb 26 (TW) Frank Seevaratnam left Sri Lanka thirty years ago with a wife, a daughter and three pounds ten in his pocket. Back then, the family had vowed to stay away from this turbulent little island that never seemed to get it right. Canada promised more stability, better living and less racial tension. more..

Sri Lankan expat’s body lying unclaimed: Embassy

Feb 26 (TP) The mortal remains of Sri Lankan national, I Manavakaran (29), who died in suspicious circumstances in Doha a few days ago, have not yet been claimed by his friends or relatives, A G Abeyasekera, Second Secretary at the Sri Lankan embassy, said here yesterday. more..

How Bala checkmated the government in Geneva

Feb 26 (TW) Last week the LTTE won the first round of talks in Geneva with the government agreeing to uphold the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) without any amendments being made to the document. Having fought for three hours over one word included in the joint closing statement drafted by the Norwegian facilitators, the government finally buckled under and agreed to the validity of the CFA, more..

Drama over Bogollagama's journey to Geneva

Feb 26 (TW) The commencement of peace talks after a lapse of three years was a cause for much joy, especially since it was this reason alone that made huge changes in the local political arena. A country affected by a two decade long ethnic conflict would always accept with open arms a decision by the two warring factions to enter into a Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). However, it took a different twist in Sri Lanka. more..

Radhika Kumaraswamy’s appointment irritates LTTE!

Feb 26 (LT) Tiger organization is discontented with the appointment of Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy as the special representative for children in armed conflict. Tiger organization has expressed its displeasure to the UNO through its front organizations active in many countries. more..

Suspicious media person wriggles into dinner party arranged by Sri Lanka Embassy

Feb 26 (LT) Media circles in Colombo are confused as to which media institution sponsored the journey of Ms. Shimali Senanayake, who is a free lance journalist in a weekend newspaper, to Geneva to cover the talks between GoSL and tiger organization. more..

Colombo negotiators walk into Tiger's trap

Feb 26 (AT) At the press meeting following the first round of peace talks between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE, which concluded in Geneva on 24 February, Colombo’s chief negotiator, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and his team beamed smug smiles. more..

Balasingham retreats in Geneva

Feb 26 (AT) The weather in and around Chateau de Bossey where the Government and the LTTE met to hold talks dropped to sub-zero levels. But the delegates would not have felt the cold because the temperature of the room in which both parties battled to thrash out a final agreement was rising to solar heights. more..

Geneva: A Balance Sheet

Feb 26 (AT) Even unavoidable, just wars kill innocent people, in large numbers. Geneva has postponed the next war and that is something that many ordinary people in the North and the South would be relieved about. The peace it promises is an illusive one, merely a short respite, but that is axiomatic so long as the Tigers remain dominant and remain Tigers. more..

LTTE leaders meet Swiss officials, attend expat event

Feb 26 (TN) Swiss foreign ministry officials met with the Liberation Tigers delegation led by Chief Negotiator and Political Strategist, Anton Balasingham on Friday at Chataeu De Bossey, Geneva where talks between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka was held. more..

Sri Lanka and India in talks again to cap Vanaspati oil exports

Feb 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka and India are in talks again to cap local exports of Vanaspati oil, but Sri Lanka might have to pull some diplomatic muscle to strike a compromise. “We are trying to negotiate with India and introduce some mutually acceptable restrictions, because quantities exported are increasing,” more..

JVP condemns Joint statement for deviating from 'Mahinda Chinthana'

Feb 26 (LT) "It should also be stated that regardless of the GOSL team presenting facts according to the 12 clauses of MoU agreed between the JVP and Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse in the inaugural speech and until the end of the discussions, the joint statement issued at the end of the talks had been prepared contradicting it. We denounce that." states the JVP. more..

The Island acknowledges error in website report on Ramraj

Feb 26 (ISL) Internet edition of The Island newspaper acknowledged the error on its previous report of the arrest of V Ramaraj, the Director of the Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) by Swiss authorities. In the latest edition, the Island states that “The story ‘London terrorist cadre arrested in Geneva’ in The Island of February 24 inadvertently carried under the by-line of our special correspondent Dushy Ranetunga reporting from Geneva was e-mailed by an LTTE propagandist. more..

Karuna-the much wanted but missing factor

Feb 26 (ISL) ON reading the barrage of charges levelled against the Government of Sri Lanka by the LTTE's Chief Negotiator, Anton Balasingham, at Geneva in his opening remarks last week, he has dared for the first time to officially accept the existence of the Karuna Group -the renegades from the LTTE's Vanni leadership, who are now being called paramilitaries armed and supported by the Government. more..

Vehicle owner harassed by LTTE in Vadamaratchi

Feb 26 (ISL) A heavy vehicle owner of Vadamarachchi was kidnapped and later released by the LTTE last week, according to sources from North. Sources added that LTTE cadres had gone to the house of Anandaraja alias Appan and kidnapped him with his motorcycle. The victim is a resident of Karikkuthan, Thunnali South, Karavetti. more..

TELO Banned In Jaffna By LTTE

Feb 26 (ISL) The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) party that was operating for the last seven years in Jaffna following the capture of Jaffna by the army under its Operation Riviresa was banned from its political activities by Jaffna LTTE political office last week. The office of the TELO movement was functioning at Hospital Road, Jaffna. more..

National carrier in crisis: 30 pilots leave SriLankan Airlines

Feb 26 (LNP) SriLankan Airlines is facing a major crisis after 30 out of about 300 pilots have joined other airlines, making the national carrier`s task to operate its daily flights difficult. The national carrier found it difficult to run long hold flights given the shortage of pilots, but the pilot exodus had not affected flights to close destinations. more..

Norwegian police ignore LTTE atrocities - Sivaraja

Feb 26 (LNP) LTTE members in Norway are threatening to kill ordinary Tamils who oppose their terrorist activities, says Sivaraja Rajasingham. Rajasigham, who was a member of Tamil Eelam Student Organisation (TESO) migrated to Norway in 1987. He escaped an attempt on his life by the LTTE. more..

President to meet talks team today

Feb 26 (LNP) The government`s ministerial delegation to the Geneva round will meet President Mahinda Rajapakse for a full debriefing today before addressing the media on the results of this much-awaited confab, official sources said. Meanwhile, a delegation source reveals that the atmosphere on the first day of deliberations had been strained and almost hostile. more..

Govt. alerts Swiss authorities

Feb 26 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has complained to Swiss authorities about alleged moves by the LTTE to engage in fundraising activities after talks with the government last week, officials said. The Sri Lankan government, impressed upon the Berne government that it was its duty to ensure that undue advantage was not taken to the point of exploiting the good offices of the host country, senior government officials said. more..

Not without the Muslims

Feb 26 (SAMN) Minister Ferial Ashraff warned the parties to the Cease-Fire Agreement and Co-chairs to the Tokyo Donor Conference that normalcy could not be restored and no lasting solution found unless they accepted what she termed as the Muslim factor at all stages of the peace process. more..

Tourist arrivals: figures don’t lie

Feb 26 (SAMN) Tourist arrivals fell marginally by three percent last year from the 2004 figures and that’s commendable given the impact of the tsunami and the ‘Sri Lanka is not ready’ kind of publicity that went with it. Factually, the number of ‘real’ tourists – those foreigners visiting Sri Lanka for leisure and holiday – has seen a sharp drop in 2005 from 2004, latest official figures show. more..