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Sunday Leader editor target of MP's hate speech

Feb 3 (FFM) The Free Media Movement (FMM) is seriously alarmed by the statements made in parliament on 1st February 2006 by the Propaganda Secretary of the Peoples Liberation Front (JVP), Mr. Wimal Weerawamsa, inciting hate against the Editor of the Sunday Leader, Mr. Lasanatha Wickrematunge. more..

JVP cannot evade responsibility by claiming that Mahinda is not their President- Attanayake

Feb 3 (LeN) The statement made by Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stating that the agenda for the Geneva talks had not been compiled was an attempt to mislead the public, UNP Assistant General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has stated. more..

Parliament adjourned, bomb scare or TNA protest?

Feb 3 (LeN) The Parliamentary chamber is searched thoroughly before the commencement of the sessions, and during the search this morning a police dog had sniffed at one place for an unusual length of time arousing suspicions of a bomb. But there were no reports any bomb or explosive devices. more..

Largest tea producers in Sri Lanka are smallholders

Feb 3 (AT) Under a 90 day crash programme launched by the Tea Research Institute (TRI) a census conducted by the Census and Statistics Department in collaboration with the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority have revealed that 370,842 smallholders operating 397,223 tea small holdings have accounted for 52 percent of the tea production in 2005. more..

Well water in Colombo district contaminated with pesticides

Feb 3 (AT) Scientists have warned that the consumption of well water and vegetables grown in the Hanwella area of the Colombo district would affect humans due to the high use of pesticides in the vegetable cultivation in the district. According to the scientists, some hotels and restaurants use well water and leafy vegetables to serve their consumers. more..

Ratwatte hosts his opponents at a party

Feb 3 (LT) Reports say the former Defence Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte was highly embarrassed at a party held at his residence at Rajagiriya. Mr. Ratwatte has had the intention to have the company of several mediamen at this party and a member of media unit of former president Chandrika Kumaratunge has invited these mediamen. more..

Disgrace to veteran mediamen at the ceremony

Feb 3 (LT) The manner a certificate awarding ceremony to mediamen had been organizer made several leading mediamen nervously uneasy. The ceremony was held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksha. Although chief editors were due to be seated at the Head Table, their names had been scrapped from the lists and Sunanda Deshapriya and victor Ivon had been mad to sit there. more..

TNA seats in parliament go to the dogs

Feb 3 (AT) When security checks were made by STF yesterday before the Sri Lanka’s parliament met, the sniffer dogs doing the rounds stopped near the seats of the TNA MPs in the back row and refused to move. A mysterious parcel was found near the seats of the TNA MPs. more..

Weerawansa silent on Presidents comments of accepting LTTE claims of sole representative

Feb 3 (ISL) The JVP Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa who in a statement bitterly opposed the visit of foreign organization to Killinochi is still keeping a silent against the recent statement made by the President to the pro-LTTE Sudaroli that the President not necessarily opposing LTTE claims of sole representatives. more..

Is JVP genuinely anti LTTE – A question for Southern masses!

Feb 3 (ISL) For many Sinhalese expatriates living in the West, Jantha Vimuthi Peramuna is the only solution against the continuous fascist practices launched by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. more..

Govt. unable to strengthen security in Parliament - UNP

Feb 3 (LT) The government has failed not only to provide security to people but also to the parliament said Mr. Tissa Attanayake, Deputy Secretary General of the UNP. He made this observation at a media briefing held yesterday in response to postponement of Parliamentary session due to security reasons. more..

A Climate of Fear in the East -Amnesty International

Feb 3 (AI) The human rights situation in eastern Sri Lanka has deteriorated dramatically over the last two years, as levels of violence have escalated, resulting in widespread human rights abuses and a climate of fear and insecurity. more..

New twist to TRO abduction drama, kidnappers communicated in Hindi

Feb 3 (AT) In a surprising twist to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization’s (TRO) abduction drama, several of the Organization workers who were released by the 'armed gang' has made a statement to the effect that their kidnappers had been speaking to each other in Sinhala, Tamil and Hindi. more..

Don’t cancel CFA talks over TRO issue, govt tells Tigers

Feb 3 (ANN) The government yesterday (Feb 2) urged the LTTE to not pull out of the forthcoming Ceasefire Agreement talks scheduled for this month in Geneva after to the abduction of some Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) personnel by "unknown persons". more..

Suspected Tamil Tiger Abducts A Principal

Feb 3 (SLA) VICE PRINCIPAL OF THE VALACHCHENAI Hindu College has claimed in a complaint made to the Police today (03) that the Principal of the school was abducted by a suspected Tamil Tiger on Thursday (02) morning around 11.45 a.m. more..

CBK and Mahinda won't sacrifice SLFP's identity

Feb 3 (LeN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who is also president of the SLFP and President Mahinda Rajapaksa have requested all SLFP electoral organizers to be ready to face the upcoming local government polls alone or in an alliance. more..

Tamil deportees: Whose criminals are they?

Feb 3 (ISL) Latex sheets from the rubber plantations of mid-hilly regions of Sri Lanka have been a major export for many years now. A British colonial venture founded by felling rich rain forests, one of nature’s decisive and critical environmental assets, processed rubber products from these plantations more..

LTTE Intensify Training Civilians

Feb 3 (ISL) According to sources from East, LTTE had intensified training civilians in LTTE held areas of Batticaloa. Sources claim that the LTTE training campaign had been intensified after the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Tamil National Force members for the LTTE. more..

LTTE kidnap SLMM driver to make force confessions on Karuna links

Feb 3 (ISL) The LTTE had kidnapped W. Rajan who work as a driver for the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Batticaloa and later released him last Wednesday due to the requests made by Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, according to the statement made by Rajan to the Batticaloa police. more..

Released TRO abductees detained at Batticaloa Police Station

Feb 3 (TN) The two female staff of Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), who were released on Monday by the abductors, are being held at Batticaloa Police station from 2.00 p.m. Thursday, TRO officials in Colombo said. When the two women, against threats to their safety, went to file a police report at the insistence of Government authorities, more..

STF opens fire at hartal observers in Akkaraipattu

Feb 3 (TN) Several civilians sustained minor injuries when Special Task Force (STF) soldiers opened fire at civilians observing hartal in Thirukovil area in Akkaraipattu Friday morning. The incident took place near Akkaraipattu-Pottuvil highway, sources said. more..

Hakeem wants Presidential probe on Aluthgama Police

Feb 3 (LM) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem has demanded a commission to probe into the conduct of the Althugama Police during the recent communal riots in Dharga Town and its neighbouring areas. Mr. Hakeem charged that the Aluthgama Police had contributed to the escalation of violence by spreading false rumours more..

Don’t mislead people: UNP tells JVP, JHU

Feb 3 (LM) The main opposition UNP yesterday urged the JVP and the JHU to quit playing politics with peace by giving conflicting messages to the people time and again. Accusing the two main allies of President Mahinda Rajapakse of misleading the people with their incessant policy changes, more..

Political parties demand pardon for SB

Feb 3 (LM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday insisted there was no room for political prisoners in a true democracy and urged the President to take all steps to release jailed UNP national organizer S.B. Dissanayake and restore his civic rights. more..

Tank renovation work for this year will commence on the 25th

Feb 3 (SLBC) Minister of Agrarian Services S.M. Chandrasena says this year?s tank renovation work will be completed by September. Speaking at a media conference held yesterday he said the renovation work for this year will commence on the 25th of this month on a tank in the Matale district. more..

Dissident lawmaker joins govt

Feb 3 (GT) Dissident Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) member of parliament Faiszer Musthapa has said that he has joined the government unconditionally “without accepting any ministerial portfolio and solely to strengthen the hands of President Mahinda Rajapakse to take the country forward”. more..

NE Sinhalese seek security assurance

Feb 3 (SAMN) The North and East Sinhala Organisation (NESO) Thursday urged the government to assure the security of the civilians in the North and East prior to the initiation of peace negotiations. It pointed that that the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) had not assured the security of the civilians more..

Stop harassing Tamils, LTTE front warns

Feb 3 (SAMN) An LTTE front which had earlier claimed responsibility for the series of claymore mine attacks on the military in the North, Thursday warned that it would retalliate if the army did not stop the harassment of Tamils immediately. more..

Policy on lahuage in parliament soon

Feb 3 (SAMN) The Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Ministry will present the Official Languages Policy in Parliament shortly in order to strengthen Sinhala and Tamil as bilingual languages. This policy provides the acceptance of both Sinhala and Tamil as official languages by all grades of public servants. more..

Penal Code amended to include extra territorial and computer related offences

Feb 3 (LNP) Parliament yesterday passed the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill to provide for certain new offenses including crimes committed outside the territory of Sri Lanka and sexually abusing children at cyber computer cafes. more..

Sangaree, Devananda dismiss reports on new anti-LTTE alliance

Feb 3 (LNP) TULF chief V. Anandasangaree and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda yesterday dismissed claims that they were in the process of setting up a new alliance to challenge the LTTE. `There is not an iota of truth in this,` Devananda said, adding that he was not in anyway involved in a recent bid towards this end. more..

Bribe taking `peon` spills beans

Feb 3 (LNP) The Bribery Commission is expected to record the statement of two senior staff officers of the Motor Commissioner`s Department in connection with an investigation triggered with the arrest of an office aide on Thursday. more..

Sri Lanka banks on patriotism to push 'junk' bonds

Feb 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka said it was banking on the patriotism of citizens holding foreign currency savings to buy 25 million dollars worth of junk-rated government bonds. Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said the five-year bond issue, to be launched Monday aimed at financing infrastructure projects, more..

Sri Lanka won't make racial complaint

Feb 3 (TA) Sri Lanka has opted not to make a racial complaint over the taunts made to Muttiah Muralitharan, but the tourists remain frustrated over the constant heckling the star bowler gets from Australian crowds. Muralitharan was aggrieved at a fan in the crowd during last Tuesday's match in Perth, more..

Civilians Pin Hopes for Peace on Geneva Talks

Feb 3 (IPS) Whether Sri Lanka's fragile peace continues to hold hinges on the outcome of talks, to be held this month in Geneva, between representatives of the government and Tamil Tiger rebels -- the first in almost three years. more..

East Sri Lanka Tamils protest over missing aid staff

Feb 3 (Reuters) Eastern Sri Lankan minority Tamil communities went on strike on Friday over the disappearance of eight staff from a group closely tied to Tamil Tiger rebels, who have said the incident could hit key talks due later this month. more..

World News: Dozens of Bodies From Egyptian Ship Found

Feb 3 (AP) An Egyptian passenger ship carrying about 1,300 people sank in the Red Sea overnight, and rescue ships arriving at the scene Friday pulled dozens of bodies from the water, an official said. At least 12 survivors were rescued. more..

Sri Lanka police find passenger with grenade aboard train

Feb 3 (AP) Police found a hand grenade on an ethnic Tamil passenger aboard a train bound for Sri Lanka's capital, police said Friday. The man was traveling from the eastern port town of Trincomalee, the scene of recent violence between the military and suspected Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

President urges unity, Tigers call for strike

Feb 3 (AFP) President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged unity and peace in Sri Lanka, even as a Tamil Tiger front organisation called for a one-day strike to coincide with Saturday's independence day. Rajapakse in a freedom day message urged all Sri Lankans to work towards ending ethnic bloodshed in a country more..

Murali reprimanded for reaction to crowd taunts

Feb 3 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan will face an "unofficial reprimand" after responding to crowd taunts in Perth with a single-finger gesture, officials said. A statement released by Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body, on behalf of ICC match referee Jeff Crowe, said the matter would be discussed with Muralitharan in Hobart next week. more..

Donors skip talks with Sri Lanka rebels after protests

Feb 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka's key international lenders postponed a meeting scheduled with Tamil Tiger guerrillas after protests from pro-government Buddhist monks and Marxists, officials said. A party of Buddhist monks and the main Marxist party -- key backers of the Colombo government -- had protested to officials more..

Sri Lanka govt says to meet rebels in Geneva Feb 15

Feb 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government will meet Tamil Tiger rebels for Norway-facilitated talks in Switzerland from February 15, a minister said on Friday, but the Norwegian embassy said it had no confirmation of the dates. more..

Tigers say no firm dates for key talks

Feb 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, angry at what they say was the army-linked abduction of eight Tamil aid workers, said on Friday they had not agreed a firm date for peace talks, contradicting a minister who said a date had been set. more..

Top Indian drivers to take on Sri Lankan competition

Feb 4 (IANS) Top Indian drivers will slug it out with their rivals from Sri Lanka in a weekend racing fiesta that begins here Saturday. Called the Indo-Sri Lanka Racing Challenge, the competition will begin at the Kari Motor Speedway. Top Indian drivers who have proved their mettle in the JK Tyre National Racing Championship more..

Another TRO staffer released

Feb 4 (TN) TRO Friday said in a press release that one of the abudcted TRO officials, Ms. S. Dosini, has returned to her relatives in Chenkalady. "Word has reached TRO through the Non-Violent Peace Force (NVPF) office in Batticaloa that Ms. S. Dosini, PSEDC Divisional Coordinator Mamunai North Division, has returned to the home of her relatives in Chenkalady, more..

Tamil Tigers say they may reconsider peace talks if govt supports rivals

Feb 4 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels may reconsider their decision to resume peace talks if Sri Lanka's government encourages attacks against their members by rival groups, a senior leader said Friday. "We see the act of government forces sheltering paramilitary groups as a hidden plan to force us to decide against attending the peace talks," more..

Funds for N-E only to Govt - Donor agencies

Feb 4 (RW) The international donor agencies will channel their funds through Sri Lankan Government for development programmes in the North and East regardless of the agencies' meetings with LTTE cadres to discuss the progress of their projects on occasional basis. more..

FTA with Sri Lanka not benefiting India

Feb 4 (PTI) Industry chamber Assocham on Friday said even after India's signing free trade agreements with both Sri Lanka and Thailand, India's exports to the two countries has risen by merely 47 and 17 per cent respectively between 2002-03 to 2004-05. more..

Right royal treatment for Madam at Temple Trees

Feb 4 (LeN) At a recent meeting of Sri Lanka Freedom Party organizers held at Temple Trees, party leader Chandrika Kumaratunga has stated that she would extend her fullest support to ensure the party victory at the local government polls. more..

Commission secrets behind Athauda's Jordan visit

Feb 4 (LeN) Despite foreign employment promotion and welfare activities being placed under Foreign Employment Promotion Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane, Labour Affairs and Foreign Employment Minister Athauda Seneviratne is to leave for Jordan tomorrow (4) allegedly to seek more foreign employment opportunities. more..