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Salary increase: 45 per cent for top officials

Feb 26 (SO) The Public Service Trade Union Federation (PSTUF) on Friday proposed a 45 per cent salary increase for top public officials including doctors, with 20 per cent salary increase for over one million public servants in other sectors. more..

Govt, guerrillas engaged in confidence-building measures: negotiator

Feb 26 (AP) Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels are engaged in confidence-building measures after recently restarting peace talks in Switzerland, a top negotiator said Sunday. "There had been so much lack of confidence," said Nimal Siripala de Silva, who led the government negotiating team at Feb 22-23 talks with the guerrillas in Geneva. more..

Red Cross still looking for 9,000 missing Sri Lankans

Feb 26 (IANS) Of the thousands who went missing in Sri Lanka in decades of violence, an estimated 5,000 civilians and 4,000 soldiers are still unaccounted for. Since it started functioning in Sri Lanka, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had been handling the cases of more than 20,000 people missing, primarily as a result of the Tamil separatist conflict. more..

Tigers put Sri Lanka on notice after Swiss talks

Feb 26 (AFP) Embattled Sri Lanka may have borrowed time after talks at this serene Swiss village where the South Asian nation's warring sides agreed to stop the killings till summer. A top leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels, S. P. Thamilselvan, told AFP here that they gave the Colombo government two months to make good on the promises made during two days of talks or risk a return to hostilities. more..

Lanka says truce pact was 'amended' at Geneva

Feb 26 (HT) A fresh conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE is in the offing, with the government saying here on Sunday, that the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) of February 2002 was "amended" at the talks held in Geneva on February 22 and 23. more..

Renegade Sri Lanka rebels refuse to give up arms

Feb 26 (Reuters) Breakaway rebels in Sri Lanka vowed on Sunday to resist any attempt to disarm them -- defying a government pledge seen vital to avoid a return to war. The government vowed on Thursday to ensure no armed group other than government security forces carries arms or conducts armed operations, and the LTTE want to see the state act before new talks due in April. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 26 (Reuters) Dancers perform traditional Sinhala and Tamil dance during a peace rally in Colombo. About five thousand Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Christian religion leaders and people held a peace march in Colombo to commemorate a fourth anniversary of the ceasefire more..

Sri Lanka seeks new truce after Swiss talks

Feb 26 (AFP) Sri Lankan negotiators vowed to honour a deal reached with Tamil Tiger rebels after talks in Switzerland, but said a new truce is still needed to resolve "legal infirmities" in the current ceasefire brokered in 2002. The negotiators who returned at the weekend after two days of talks with the rebel LTTE said they will abide by a bilateral agreement to halt violence. more..

Roar of the Tamil Tigers

Feb 26 (TS) They apologized when they came knocking on her door one night. The Toronto woman won't say if the grass outside was green or covered in autumn leaves. All she will divulge is that the men came sometime before winter began last year, and they asked for a monthly donation of $50 for the "Tamil cause." more..

Sri Lanka running out of time to avoid preliminary round of ICC Champions Trophy

Feb 27 (ICC) Sri Lanka's failure to win all three ODIs in their series against Bangladesh means they are now well and truly running out of time to avoid playing in the preliminary round of this year's ICC Champions Trophy in India. more..

Criticizing peace effort (In Sri Lanka) is just trendy

Feb 27 (AT) The article written by Mahinda Weerasinghe of the so called World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPs), which appeared in the Ny Tid (New Times) a Norwegian language weekly, was sharply criticized as badly documented with crassly employed langue. more..

Bus shortage plagues northern region transport system

Feb 27 (TN) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has sent only five buses to Northern Region Transport Board (NRTB) instead of fifty as promised. The SLTB made an order with a foreign firm to import two thousand buses to be distributed among various depots in the island. Only three hundred out of 2000 buses have arrived in Colombo, sources said. more..

Local elections in LTTE areas likely to be postponed

Feb 27 (TN) Commissioner of Elections is to decide on whether to hold local council elections in areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers in the NorthEast on March 30th only after holding two conferences, one with all the District Returning Officers who are the Government Agents of the province, and the other with the general secretaries of the registered political parties contesting the poll, sources said. more..

"Illegal" CFA "amended" in Geneva

Feb 27 (BBC) The government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has once again stressed that the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed with the Tamil Tigers in 2002 is “illegal”. HL de Silva, PC, a member of the GOSL facilitating team said the agreement reached in Geneva between the parties do not necessary legalise the CFA. more..

LTTE "surprised" on GOSL remarks

Feb 27 (BBC) The Tamil Tigers have expressed astonishment on the statement made by the GOSL that the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed in 2002 is still illegal. LTTE political wing Chief SP Thamilselvan told the BBC that the statement showed the “duplicity” of the GOSL attitude towards the truce agreement. more..

Will Sri Lanka Defeat Hostile Symbolic Politics?

Feb 27 (TW) Whether one agrees or not, in the conflict resolution process, a win-win scenario is better than a no-win one. I read the statements from the recently concluded Geneva talks on the implementation of the no-war treaty with this in mind. more..

Geneva Protest Shocks LTTE Supporters In Europe

Feb 27 (ISL) The last week protests by Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities in Geneva against LTTE human rights violations against Tamils in Northeast had shocked LTTE supporter based in Europe, according to Tamil sources from Geneva. LTTE had threatened arrests, death and severe punishment against all Tamils who participated in protest campaign. more..

Govt delegation made a correct and a courageous start at Geneva talks – PNM

Feb 27 (LT) Patriotic National Movement has said in a communiqué issued on the recently concluded Geneva talks that the opening speech made by minister Nimal Siripala De Silva on behalf of the government was based on a correct vision. It said that the Ceasefire Agreement itself was contrary to the constitution and law of the country and posed a threat to the sovereignty of the Nation. more..

Mahinda-Chandrika tussle goes public

Feb 27 (LeN) A battle as to who should lead the United People's Freedom Alliance local polls campaign has broken out between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka Freedom Party leader Chandrika Kuamratunga. Even though it is still not clear who would emerge victorious, Kuamratunga has entered the fray before the President. more..

Colombo UNP list changed by Milinda-Maharuf clan

Feb 27 (LeN) The committee appointed by the United National Party to probe the circumstances that led to the rejection of the party nomination list for the Colombo Municipal Council handed over its report to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. The committee comprised Vice Chairman of party Milroy Perera and Attorney Mahinda Haradasa. more..

Geneva agreement totally in contravention of Mahinda Chintana - JHU

Feb 27 (LeN) A press release issued by the Jathika Hela Urumaya says the party has not granted any approval to the agreements reached by the government and the LTTE in Geneva and if any group is disarmed, the first group to be disarmed should be the LTTE. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 27 (Reuters) A Sri Lankan Hindu woman puts her hands over the holy oil lamp as part of the religious observances to mark Maha Sivarathiri Day at Trincomalee Koneswaram Temple, eastern Sri Lanka, more..

A report from monitors at the next round whether the parties respect agreements

Feb 27 (LeN) The SLMM will present an observation report at the next round of peace talks in Geneva on April 19 whether the government and the LTTE respected the agreement they reached at the Geneva negotiations, chief government negotiator Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told a media briefing this afternoon. more..

Karuna on a collision course with Govt

Feb 27 (AT) Colonel Kauna in a combative mood adamantly refuses to disarm. The renegade Tamil militant leader told on Sunday that his group refuses to lay down arms and will end a unilateral ceasefire and fight the LTTE if attacked. Karuna's uncompromising stance may be a new headache to President Mahinda Rajpakse, who has agreed to disarm all armed groups to prevent any future attack by the LTTE. more..

Balasingham rejects Sri Lanka’s "amendment" concept as absurd

Feb 27 (TN) Anton Balasingham, the chief negotiator and political strategist of the LTTE, rejected outright the Sri Lanka government’s claim that the joint communiqué, issued after the Geneva talks, amounted to an amendment to the original Ceasefire Agreement. more..

LTTE Seen Constructing One More New Bunker

Feb 27 (SLA) CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW BUNKER by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) in ALAINAKAR, SELVANAGAR, TRINCOMALEE, close to a forward post of the troops, was officially intimated to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in TRINCOMALEE Monday (27) morning. more..

Unattended Hand Grenade Defused

Feb 27 (SLA) FOLLOWING INFORMATION given by the Grama Seva official (State Agent), at ALAVI south, NELLIADY, JAFFNA, the Police with the help of the troops from MALAESANDI detachment defused a hand grenade recovered from the area on Sunday (26). more..

Construction of the Weerawila International Airport

Feb 27 (SLBC) The construction of the 'Weerawila' airport is to be accelerated. This is the 2nd international airport in Sri Lanka . The construction will begin in May this year. Farmer Families displaced due to the project will be provided with alternative plots of land in Suriyawewa and Mayura Pura development zone of the Mahaweli authority. more..

Geneva talks - undoubtedly a success, but what next?

Feb 27 (TW) The country and the peoples across the ethnic divide heaved a sigh of relief when the Norwegian Facilitator Erik Solheim announced at the conclusion of the "Geneva Talks" that the Government and the LTTE had not only reaffirmed their commitment to the Ceasefire Agreement, more..

UNP dissident group mounts pressure

Feb 27 (LM) The UNP dissident group is planning to mount pressure on the party leadership to take action against two MPs responsible for the exclusion of a senior party member T.M. Sangadasa from the nomination list for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). more..

Joint declaration an amendment to CFA, says govt

Feb 27 (ANN) The Sri Lankan government on Sunday (Feb 26) said that last Thursday’s agreement between the State and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), reached in Geneva, constitutes an amendment to the four-year old Norwegian-arranged Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA). more..

A great step forward

Feb 27 (PIS) The outcome of the Geneva talks was a great step forward in rebuilding confidence and bringing about a conducive environment for peace, the Government said yesterday. "We are happy to announce that the talks with the LTTE ended on a positive note. more..

Lankan Marine Engineer hijacked in Somali waters

Feb 27 (LNP) A Sri Lankan Marine Engineer along with eight other crew members hijacked in Somali waters has been demanded USD 100,000 for their release. A foreign Ministry statement said the Sri Lankan named Sydney Rodrigo, six Somalis, one Tanzanian and one Indian are being held in a house at an unknown location in Somalia, some 250 km away from the ship. more..

CEB comes down hard on power pirates

Feb 27 (LNP) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has recovered Rs. 15 million through Flying Squad raids on premises with rigged electricity meters. The raids were carried out on Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne`s orders. The move follows rampant power piracy, carried out with the assistance of CEB employees in some cases. more..

TNA pleased with talks outcome

Feb 27 (LNP) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday while welcoming the Geneva talks outcome said further progress on peace process would depend on the Government`s sincerity to implement fully what they have agreed at the table. TNA Parliamentarian Mavai Senadiraja was of the view the operation of militant groups in the East were a serious impediment to the very survival of the CFA. more..

SLFP–UNP in the same ‘boat’ in Trinco

Feb 27 (SAMN) A group of SLFPers together with some UNPers have filed nominations as an independent group to contest the Trincomalee Urban Council elections under the boat symbol, a spokesman for the election secretariat said Sunday. more..

Farmers request funds to purchase paddy

Feb 27 (SAMN) All Ceylon Farmers Federation Sunday urged the government to intervene effectively in the process of buying paddy and warned the failure to do so within a week will force farmers to stage massive protest campaigns to show their displeasure over government inaction. more..

Permanent residence in Cyprus

Feb 27 (SAMN) Cyprus Government has decided to issue resident visas to foreigners who had gone to that country for legitimate employment and stayed there for over five years at a stretch. Cyprus has informed the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment that Lankans employed in that country legitimately for periods of over five years will have the privilege of residing permanently in that country. more..

Residents venture back out as Sri Lanka violence ebbs

Feb 27 (Reuters) People have returned to the streets in Sri Lanka's multi-ethnic east after talks between the government and Tamil Tigers pulled the island back from the brink of war, but distrust remains. A month ago, Reuters found Malika Ponuthurai, her children and grandchildren living in an overcrowded church hall more..

Advanced methods to track errant motorists

Feb 27 (DN) The Western Province (North) Traffic Division has introduced highly advanced methods common in the West, to trace errant motorists. The advanced methods are the brainchild of Western Province North DIG D. W. Prathapasinghe who assumed duties recently. more..

Murali ready for 100th Test match

Feb 27 (BBC) Muttiah Muralitharan will become only the second Sri Lankan to make 100 Test appearances when he plays against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Tuesday. And he can achieve another notable milestone if he can pick up 16 wickets in the two-match series to reach 600. more..

Sri Lankan military, Tamil Tigers trade charges of violating Geneva commitments

Feb 27 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lanka's government accused each other Monday of failing to honor commitments made at just-concluded peace talks in Geneva intended to preserve a fragile cease-fire. The rebels claimed the military failed to stop a member of a rival Tamil group spotted freely carrying a weapon in government-controlled territory, more..

Sri Lanka tsunami-displaced squat to demand new homes

Feb 27 (Reuters) About 1,000 Sri Lankans who lost their homes to Asia's tsunami have overrun government land in the island's east and vowed on Monday to stay until they are built new homes from more than $3 billion in aid the state received. Police said the group had put up shelters in the grounds of the divisional secretariat at Kalmunai in the eastern district of Ampara, more..

Next round of Geneva talks may be critical

Feb 27 (HT) The first round of talks between the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and the LTTE, held in Geneva on February 22 and 23, was admittedly tough. But the next round, to be held from April 19 to 21, could be tougher. Firstly, some of the most ticklish issues in the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), more..

Monks, Marxists slam Sri Lanka's Swiss talks outcome

Feb 27 (AFP) Buddhist monks and Marxists, who provide key support to the ruling coalition, slammed the government for agreeing to uphold a controversial truce during talks in Switzerland with Tamil Tiger rebels. The Marxist JVP, said negotiators were pressured by peace broker Norway and the rebel LTTE to accept the 2002 truce arranged by Oslo. more..

JVP files case against UPFA

Feb 27 (BBC) The judiciary in Sri Lanka have allowed the petitioners to amend a case against the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed between the government and the Tamil Tigers. The petitioners, JVP anfd JHU were allowed to site the cabinet of ministers of the current government headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the respondents. more..

First, stop the killing

Feb 28 (GU) At the first talks in nearly three years, at a secluded villa outside Geneva, the government agreed to disarm all paramilitaries, and both sides said they would come back to the negotiation table in a few weeks' time to seek an end to Sri Lanka's 30-year civil war, which has cost 65,000 lives. more..

Follow proper guidelines to protect catchments areas

Feb 28 (AT) The conservationists and the Up Country Community Development Organization [UCDO] said the Regional Plantation Companies and other major land users should follow acceptable guidelines to conserve the water resources in the catchments areas in Sri Lanka. more..

UN candidate to press for reforms

Feb 28 (BBC) Sri Lankan candidate for the top the top UN post says he would press for reforms if selected to replace United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Jayantha Dhanapala, a former Under-Secretary General on Disarmament Affairs, said a number of countries have already proposed to increase the number of permanent members of the Security Council. more..

Sri Lanka to to woo more Malaysian investors

Feb 28 (LBO) A Sri Lankan delegation to Malaysia this week will woo more investors to put money into infrastructure projects like ports, power generation, IT, textiles, tourism, housing and water. Already over US$ 200 million is expected in 2006 through existing Malaysia investments, including US$ 150 million from Dialog Telekom. more..