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Investors lack confidence in Sri Lanka despite peace bid: World Bank

Feb 8 (AT) Agreement by Sri Lanka's warring parties to hold their first face-to-face talks in three years will help reconstruction but there would be no significant foreign investment until lasting peace is achieved, Agence France Presse reports a World Bank official said Monday. more..

Paramilitaries: The need for a re-think

Feb 8 (TW) The issue of paramilitaries has been one that has dogged the peace process and is expected to take centre stage at the talks between the Government and the LTTE on reviewing the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) to be held in Geneva this month. more..

Govt, LTTE gear up for talks

Feb 8 (PIS) Final preparations for the February 22-23 truce talks in Geneva between the Government and the LTTE are now underway. Senior diplomats from Sri Lanka, Norway and Switzerland will be involved in facilitating the first high-level face-to-face meeting between the two sides since April 2003, when they met in Japan. more..

Govt. to take soft line in Geneva

Feb 8 (PIS) The government delegation for the ceasefire talks with the LTTE was advised yesterday to take a moderate line because it was vitally important to continue the dialogue with the LTTE, despite continuing threats to national interest. more..

Getty Images

Feb 8 (AFP) A Sri Lankan woman walks past a poster supporting peace moves underway between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Colombo government in Colombo, 07 February 2006. more..

Parents of abducted TRO staffers on protest journey to Welikanda

Feb 8 (TN) Parents of five of the seven abducted humanitarian staffers of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), on Wednesday, set off on a journey through Welikanda area in search of their sons and a daughter, relatives of the kidnapped humanitarian staffers in Batticaloa said. more..

Hand Grenade Defused

Feb 8 (SLA) A CIVILIAN’S HOUSE on the M. K. road, ODDAMAVADI in BATTICALOA came under hand grenade attack during the small hours on Tuesday (07). However, the hand grenade has not exploded. The owner of the house V.T. LATHIF MOHAMMED had reportedly at about 10.30 a.m. contacted the MIRAVODAI Army camp and informed the attack. more..

Explosives Thrown Into Sea Recovered

Feb 8 (SLA) NAVAL TROOPS on duty at the beach point, south of PUNGUDUTIVU, JAFFNA on Tuesday (07) around 7.40 a.m. have arrested four suspects with Gelignite charges and other explosives when they threw the sachet containing those explosives into the sea. more..

Renaming Children – Latest LTTE Propaganda Ploy

Feb 8 (ISL) The LTTE is starting a new propaganda campaign with launching a scheme to give authentic Tamil names for thousand children between the age group of 1 to 10, according to sources from North. Sources further added that over 10 million rupees had been allocated for this purpose. more..

Chandrasekaran to meet Tamilchelvan

Feb 8 (ISL) Member of Parliament and the leader of the upcountry peoples front Chandrasekaran will proceed to Kilinochchi to meet LTTE political leader SP Tamilchelvan within this week, according to sources.According to reports, he will be discussing forthcoming local government elections and recent political developments in the South with LTTE political wing leader. more..

British Charity Commission report exposes TRO-terror links

Feb 8 (ISL) The exposure of the TRO titled "British Charities Fund Terrorists" was published in the Island on 4th October 2000. In the evening of the same day, SBS television in Australia also ran an in-depth investigation into the TRO. more..

"Federal model, a durable solution to Sri Lanka's conflict"

Feb 8 (TN) "A federal constitution offers a reasonable accommodation in a conflict where one side is committed to a unitary state and thei other a separate state," a declaration passed at the National Symposium organised by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on The Future of Sri Lanka more..

Colombo lacks will to resolve Tamil National question, says Banu

Feb 8 (TN) "Disarming the paramilitaries, their expulsion and the creation of normalcy in people's daily life are the essential prerequisites for the continuation of peace talks. But Sri Lanka is unlikely to agree," said Colonel Banu, Batticaloa district military commander of Liberation Tigers, more..

Congratulations Radhika!

Feb 8 (ANN) It is heartening to hear Radhika Coomaraswamy has been appointed the new United Nations Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict. She is no stranger to the UN – she is former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. Nor does she need any introduction. more..

Trade Unions threaten general strike

Feb 8 (SAMN) The 800,000-member strong Trade Union Federation of the public sector is threatening to call a general strike if the government brings back the Circular 1 - 2006, which was earlier cancelled by President Mahinda Rajapakse, as demanded by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) which has called on its members to strike. more..

‘Mahinda’ to be monitored

Feb 8 (SAMN) A monitoring committee has been set up to evaluate the progress of the Mahinda Chintana programme and advise President Mahinda Rajapakse on the progress made by the line ministries implementing the programme. This was revealed on Monday (6) by the Secretary Ministry of Plan Implementation and President’s Economic Advisor Ajith Nivard Cabral. more..

School admission for 30,000 children

Feb 8 (SAMN) Some 30,000 children who were left out of the Grade 1 admissions this year are to be accommodated in national schools, an Education Ministry official said Tuesday. He said this would be done by increasing the number of children in a Grade 1 classroom from 40 to 45. more..

Speedy trial for Royal Park murder case

Feb 8 (LNP) The Colombo High Court yesterday took up for hearing the murder trial of Swedish fashion designer, student Yvonne Jonnson. In this case Don Jude Shramantha Jayamaha is indicted with committing the murder of the 19- year-old on July 1 at the Royal Park Condominium, Rajagiriya. more..

Dialogue crucial, says SLMM chief

Feb 8 (LNP) The head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) yesterday welcomed the breakthrough reached by the Norwegian facilitators on the dates for the Geneva talks and expressed hopes that both the government and the LTTE would be able to iron out the crucial issues related to the ceasefire agreement. more..

Gas should not have been sold to foreigners - Bhaila

Feb 8 (LNP) The LP Gas and Lanka Gas Companies should not have been sold to a foreign company but to a local private sector company, Deputy Minister of Plan Implementation Hussain Bhaila said Monday (6). more..

Streamlined school bus services

Feb 8 (DN) The school bus service is to be streamlined and strengthened to the level of the service which existed during the golden era of the CTB. The Railways, Transport, Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Ministry has taken this decision in pursuance of the Government's proclamation of this year as the Children's Year to give it further meaning. more..

Tobacco Bill, a Pipe of Peace in Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (IPS) A Buddhist monk, who tabled a bill in the Sri Lankan parliament to control the sale of tobacco and alcohol, says he is gratified at the wide support he has received in a country known for the deep divisions among its ethnic and religious communities. more..

Daya Master speaks of two LTTE concerns in Geneva

Feb 8 (LeN) The LTTE will concentrate on the disarming of paramilitary groups and the removal of High Security Zones, LTTE media spokesman Daya Master said. He stated this when he met a group of journalists from Colombo this morning (7)who are currently on a visit to Jaffna. more..

Sri Lanka Report:status of education MDG implementation

Feb 8 (OW) Sri Lanka, an island with an average economic growth of 5 – 6% GDP, and a per capita income of US$ 1030 has handsome figures for human development. It is noteworthy that a life expectancy of 72 years, adult literacy of 92.5%, under five mortality of 15/1000, maternal mortality of 92/100,000, more..

Sri Lanka favoured by dry pitches in finals, says Hussey

Feb 8 (AFP) Australia expected to play South Africa not Sri Lanka in the best-of-three triangular one-day cricket final series but Adelaide's dry pitch will suit them in the opening final, Australian player Michael Hussey has said. more..

Lankan Minister donates Rs. 10 cr. gold dome to Buddhist shrine

Feb 8 (PTI) Sri Lankan Agriculture Minister Chaman Rajapakse, today offered prayers at the famous Buddhist piligrimage at Sankisa here and donated a golden dome worth Rs 10 crores to the stupa. The Minister and his entourage arrived here from Agra last evening and took part in the 'paritran paath' which would continue till tomorrow. more..

Stocks up on optimism over peace talks

Feb 8 (Reuters) Stock market rose on Wednesday as the prospect of peace talks between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva later this month encouraged investors, traders said. The Colombo All-share closed a provisional 0.64 percent firmer at 2,144.20 points on moderate turnover of 201 million rupees ($1.97 million). more..

LTTE paramilitary attack Karuna's cadres working in Qatar

Feb 8 (AT) 26-year-old Manoharan, alias Kuruvi, (Bird) one of the numerous members of Col. Karuna's group working in Qatar, is in a critical condition in the Intensive Unit of Ahamed Hospital, (General Hospital) in Doha Qatar after he was hit on the head with a steel crowbar when he was fast asleep. more..

US will not impose any political model on SL: Envoy

Feb 8 (HT) The United States has said that Sri Lanka is free to choose any political structure in its bid to find a solution to the ethnic problem, and that Washington will not impose any model, including federalism. "Federalism is one model for a non-violent solution, but the United States has no desire to tell Sri Lanka how to run its country or what kind of model to adopt," more..

Opposition politicians defect to Sri Lanka's governing party

Feb 8 (AP) Eighteen local opposition politicians joined Sri Lanka's ruling coalition on Wednesday, saying they wanted to strengthen the president's hand to negotiate peace with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The politicians, who are members of regional councils, defected from the main opposition UNP to join the UPFA, more..

Sri Lanka seeks changes to truce with Tigers

Feb 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka will seek to amend the ceasefire agreement with Tamil Tiger rebels during negotiations in Geneva later this month despite opposition from the guerrillas. President Mahinda Rajapakse told his negotiators to ensure that promises in his election manifesto titled "Mahinda Chinthana", or Mahinda philosophy, are followed in dealing with the rebels. more..

Largest ever allocation for Samurdhi

Feb 9 (RW) In the largest allocation yet for poverty alleviation, the Government has set apart Rs. 5,009 million to implement the proposed development programmes of the Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority (SLSA) during the current year, redoubling efforts to eradicate poverty as enunciated in Mahinda Chintana. more..

Chinese firm to give financial proposal for toll road by end February

Feb 9 (LBO) The Chinese construction firm that has been appointed by the government to design and build the Colombo-Katunayake expressway is to submit its financial proposal by the end of this month. The 26 kilometer roadway is expected to cut travel time and also boost the country’s image among arriving investors and tourists. more..

Sri Lanka ex-president returns land gift amid court probe

Feb 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's former president has returned her expensive retirement gift, her office announced after legal action was filed against her. Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday handed back the 1.5 acre (0.68 hectare) area of land near the national parliament to the state, it said in a statement on Wednesday. more..

Mansion plans on hold for Chandrika

Feb 9 (BBC) Ravaya editor Victor Ivan says the former president’s handing back the land she got for her future home should not signal the end of the controversy. The editor, who filed the petition claiming the action of the cabinet was illegal, says that he is pleased that former president had finally decided to give the land back. more..

Mahinda helps those who carried 'Helping Hambantota' in their backs

Feb 9 (LeN) A game of musical chairs is now being enacted in the state run Associated Newspapers Limited better known as Lake House and referred to as 'Beira Gedara' by anti-government parties. Te contest began with the resignation of the 'Dinamina' editor who 'assassinated' Tamil Selvam. more..

Tinkering with the penal code to tackle human trafficking

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka, noted as hot bed for human trafficking, is now tinkering with its penal code to strengthen laws against the illegal trade. The amendments to the penal code are expected to facilitate prosecution of traffickers and to protect their victims. more..

Homes for Colombo's homeless

Feb 9 (LBO) The Social Service Ministry hopes to put-up Colombo’s estimated 1523 homeless in transitional housing by end 2006. Secretary to the Ministry V. Jegarasasingham said that poverty, the war and domestic abuse among other reasons has led over 1523 Sri Lankan men, women and children to take shelter on Colombo’s streets. more..

2nd UNP petition against the election also dismissed

Feb 9 (LT) The Appeal court yesterday(8th) dismissed the petition filed by the United National Party to issue an injunction order restraining the acceptance of nominations for the forthcoming local government elections. This petition follows an earlier petition file by them and dismissed by the court on the grounds that it was not proper. more..

EROS leader urges LTTE and other groups to cease attacks

Feb 9 (ISL) The EROS leader in an exclusive interview with the Independent stated that he was saddened that tourists were avoiding Sri Lanka under the current political climate and it was costing the economy and those that run small businesses that rely on tourism for their livelihood.” more..

Ferial demands Muslim aspirations in Peace Talks

Feb 9 (ISL) Although the ceasefire agreement is between the LTTE and the government, Muslim community must be given a role to play in the peace talks, said Minister Ferial Ashroff expressing the Muslim concerns on the peace talks. “When the agreement is implemented it will affect the Muslims so an opportunity should be given to the Muslims to express their aspirations,” she said. more..

Plight of Sri Lanka’s displaced people

Feb 9 (HT) The plight of Sri Lanka’s displaced people whether from the 22-year long ethnic conflict, the tsunami or floods is indeed pathetic. There have been people who have been spending years on the move or living in refugee camps. Muslims resident in the Tamil-dominated northern region were chased away from their homes by rebels in an exercise widely acknowledged as ethnic cleansing in October 1990. more..

Abuse of political power led to Judges resignations, says State Bar

Feb 9 (TN) The resignation of two Senior Judges of the three-member Judicial Commission (JSC) has caused shock and alarm within the legal community, civil society and trade unions in Colombo. The resignations were due to the "simmering state of discontent prevailing for some time within the Judicial Service Commission," said Desmond Fernando, President, Bar Association more..

'Water is life'—Brandix commissions a desalination plant for residents

Feb 9 (AT) The residents of Rajapakshapura in Seeduwa, who have never in the history of this little village had pure drinking water, have had their woes resolved by apparel giant Brandix Lanka. In keeping with their outreach initiative "Water is Life" to provide safe drinking water for those most in need, Brandix commissioned a desalination plant for the people of Rajapakshapura to provide potable water. more..

Saudi-Lanka Ties: Focus on Trade, Investment

Feb 9 (AN) Sri Lanka is keen on strengthening its bilateral co-operation on trade and investment with the Kingdom. “This year, our focus is to enhance the two-way trade and investment between the two countries.” A.M.J. Sadiq, Sri Lankan ambassador, told Arab News. more..

Lanka gives in to pressure on Iran nuke issue

Feb 9 (ANN) Wilting under heavy US-EU pressure, Sri Lanka voted against Iran over the hotly disputed nuclear programme. Sri Lanka’s voted against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna referring it to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme last Saturday (Feb 4). more..

LTTE responsible for 90% of CFA violations - SLMM

Feb 9 (LT) The latest report of the SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission) points out that more than 90% of the cease fire violations between 01.02.02002 and 31.12.2005 have been proved to have been committed by the Tigers organization. 6751 complaints have been during the said period that the LTTE is responsible for cease fire violations. more..

Presidential intervention sought on Commercial Bank take-over attempt

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s key banking sector union is appealing to President Mahinda Rajapakse to intervene in the Commercial Bank of Ceylon takeover attempt and re-introduce pensions to state banks. more..

Preparations ahead of Geneva talks should focus on people's plight - Thamilchelvan

Feb 9 (TN) "One of the key issues in the February 2002 Cease Fire Agrement was ensuring a safe life to the civilians in Sri Lanka military controlled areas of the Tamil homeland," Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan told media, following a preparatory meeting with the Ambassadors of Norway and Swtizerland, more..

LTTE Men Assault & Hack Youngster

Feb 9 (SLA) TROOPS SERVING IN CHUNNAKAM, JAFFNA intervened to rush an LTTE assaulted youngster initially to the PALALY Military Hospital late last night (08) after the victim was found brutally hacked with a sword. more..