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New houses for Colombo city dwellers

Jan 12 (GDI) A housing scheme constructed to facilitate many low income families, living in the central Colombo area under poor conditions, was entrusted to the owners on Thursday by the Ministry of Urban Development. An official spokesman of the ministry talking to said that the housing complex completed under this ten year project plan is situated at Sinhapura, Borella – in the central Colombo - was handed over to the beneficiaries. more..

Italian minister congratulates President on successive effort in tsunami reconstruction

Jan 12 (GDI) Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Gianni Vernetti yesterday congratulated the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the successive efforts taken in the reconstruction in the tsunami aftermath. Mr.Vernetti said after visiting many reconstruction projects in Peraliya, Thotagama, Akurala and Panadura undertaken by the Italian Governmental agencies and Italian Non Governmental Organisations, more..

Unilateral truce in Sri Lanka urged by Colombo Bishop

Jan 12 (TW) The Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev Duleep de Chickera has urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to “declare a unilateral truce, provide relief and humanitarian aid to all trapped communities, and initiate a wise and sincere course of action towards peace conversations.” He has also urged ” the LTTE to consider the suffering of the Tamil people whose cause it says it advocates, and to reciprocate.” more..

Ethnic emotions, violence, and instability: some remarks on Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (TW) Two explosions on bus in the Sinhalese dominated southern Sri Lanka killed an estimated 25 Sinhalese and injured more than 50. Sri Lanka state and institutions blamed the Tamil Tigers for the bloodshed. However, recent aerial bombardment and shelling, before the explosions in the South, by the Sinhalese dominated security forces indiscriminately killed more than 50 Tamils and seriously injured more than 75 in the Tamil dominated North East. more..

Don’t mix up question of existence with the national question! – Lal Kanthe

Jan 12 (LT) The Government should not mix up the question of existence with the national question said JVP Parliamentarian Lal Kanthe addressing a media meeting convened by National Trade Union Centre yesterday. Mr. Lal Kanthe said workers expect satisfactory responses to the six demands including living allowance, salary anomalies, salary increments and distress loans already presented to the President and the Government before the 31st of this month. more..

War threatens education: closed university, youth kidnapped and tortured

Jan 12 (AN) The civil war in north-east Sri Lanka is threatening not only the life but the right to decent education of young people. Prevalent insecurity and abductions have forced educational institutions to suspend classes or to hold them only haphazardly. This is the fate of Jaffna University. After one of its students was kidnapped, the university declared it would have to postpone the planned re-opening of its academic year later this month. more..

‘Conditions at some labour camps are pathetic’

Jan 12 (TP) Cryshantha Herath is labour attaché at the Sri Lankan embassy in Doha. One of his responsibilities is to inspect labour camps of companies that ask the mission's approval to bring over unskilled and semi-skilled workers from his country. Based on his recommendations, Colombo decides whether to allow a Sri Lankan worker to travel to Qatar to take up a job or not. more..

Indians top visitors' chart in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka received the highest number of foreign tourists from India this year, followed by visitors from Britain and Germany, figures released by the Tourist Board here revealed today. Number of visitors from India rose by 13.3 per cent to 128,370 for the year 2006, the board said, beating holidaymakers from Britain, which fell by 4.7 per cent to 88,306 while German arrivals rose 2.3 percent to 47,402. more..

ZOA - a Dutch Protestant Agency is suspected of running hospital inside LTTE camp in Amparai

Jan 12 (AT) Sri Lanka Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Netherlands based ZOA; a non-governmental organization registered for refugee care was suspected of running a hospital at a Tamil Tiger insurgent garrison overrun by the country’s elite police commandos, the Special Task Force (STF) recently. more..

Tamil Tigers in a death groan in the East of Sri Lanka, after the STF capture of Janak Camp in Amparai

Jan 12 (AT) LTTE is in a ‘death groan’ and counting their days in the restive East of Sri Lanka, when they lost one more camp in the Amparai district yesterday to the Sri Lanka Police Special Task Force. The Police Special Task Force (STF) wrested the control of LTTE’s 'Janak’ camp, situated west of the earlier captured ‘Stanley camp' in Kanchikudichcharu in the Ampara district. more..

How free are different ethnic groups in multi ethnic societies?

Jan 12 (AT) In their heart of hearts, many Sri Lankan Tamils, mostly those living in Sri Lanka and having to face violence from two quarters, namely the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, must be wondering about the mess they have got into by allowing a group of armed thugs to take care of their destiny by force. more..

Sri Lanka 2006: LTTE’s unbalanced score card

Jan 12 (AT) The year 2006 may be called the year of reckoning for LTTE. What LTTE had been sowing during the four years of ceasefire from 2002 came back to haunt it in 2006. It was also a year that saw LTTE reaching the point of abandoning the East to Karuna’s control. The year also saw the international community, already tired of LTTE’s old rhetoric, got increasingly disenchanted with LTTE’s methods. more..

New Sangha Nayake for Scandinavian countries

Jan 12 (AT) Ven. Kirindigalle Dhammaratana Thera is to be bestowed with the post of Sangha Nayake of Scandinavian Countries by the Malwatta Chapter of Siyam Maha Nikaya. In this connection, subsequently a special reception to felicitate Ven. Dhammaratana Thera’s contribution to the Sasana will be held at the BMICH in Colombo at 3.00 pm on Tuesday, January 16. more..

Mosquito repelling candle from Jaffna

Jan 12 (LNP) A new local product has come into the market in Jaffna to compete with the popular brands of coils to beat the mosquito menace. This new product comes in the form of a candle manufactured using particles of Margosa tree. Arumaithirugnanam Thevaki, a 19-year-old girl from Jaffna has come out with her new product which claims to be very popular among Jaffna residents. more..

Bonus for teachers who takes less leave

Jan 12 (LNP) For the first time, the Department of Education has taken steps to pay a bonus to teachers who took less leave in 2006. N. W. Perera the Zonal Director of Education Kalutara addressing the Principals of schools said the teachers who had not taken all the thirty-days entitled leave and who have five or more days leave remaining would be given an additional payment by the department. more..

UNP alleges death threats to its leaders, journalists

Jan 12 (LNP) The UNP yesterday called on the Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara to urge the Defence Secretary and the Police Chief to probe the alleged death threats to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and several others. UNP Gampaha District MP Jayalath Jayawardene who raised a privilege issue in Parliament yesterday said some international group had sent death threats to the Opposition Leader, Deputy Minister Dilan Perera and several other politicians including himself through a website. more..

SLFP-UNP MoU doomed?

Jan 12 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapakse seems to have slightly opened the door which, he said the other day, he had closed on the UNP parliamentarians who were jostling to join the government. The cabinet reshuffle in the pipeline is said to be a move to accommodate the UNP crossovers. The ministers are reported to have agreed to shed some of the subjects under their purview so that new ministries could be created. more..

Corruption at dizzy heights

Jan 12 (SAMN) The JVP and Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) Thursday charged that corruption had reached dizzy heights in Sri Lanka and urged the political leadership to address the issue. Hailing moves by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) for its ‘proactive oversight work’, TISL said media reports are indicative of large scale corruption in many spheres. more..

Ranil says reforms as scheduled

Jan 12 (SAMN) Despite speculation over crossovers, Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Thursday reiterated that party reforms would go ahead as promised within the earlier stipulated 100 days, with the implementation aspects to be taken up next week. He said reforms would be on schedule and after the Working Committee approved the previous meeting’s minutes next week, more..

SLMC–SLFP meeting on terms to join Govt.

Jan 12 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress has appointed a nine-member team in response to an SLFP request to negotiate matters relating to joining the Government. The SLFP offer comes amidst President Mahinda Rajapaksa's move to get a number of UNPers to join Government ranks and head for a Cabinet reshuffle soon. more..

Sri Lanka counts on US$1.5 bn aid from foreign donors this year

Jan 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka hopes to secure over a billion dollars in aid pledges when foreign donors meet later this month to discuss the island’s economic health, and attempts to resolve the ethnic conflict, a senior official said Friday. The Indian Ocean Island secured 1.1 billion dollars in foreign aid last year, which included around 300 to 400 million dollars earmarked to rebuild areas affected by the December 2004 tsunami. more..

Ellalan Force’ warns of more attacks

Jan 12 (SAMN) While claiming responsibility for attacks on civilians in the South, the ‘Ellalan Force’ considered to be an offshoot of the LTTE, has warned of more attacks if the Government continues with its military action in the north and east. In a letter to a local newspaper the Ellalan Force said the attack was a serious warning to the Government and carried a strong message that the rebels would not remain silent. more..

Single Super Phosphate to save Rs.900 m

Jan 12 (DN) The Government will be able to save Rs. 900 million by producing Single Super Phosphate (SSP) following Cabinet approval given to a Cabinet memorandum present by Industrial Development Minister Kumara Welgama. According to the Cabinet decision SSP will be manufactured in Sri Lanka as a substitute for imported Triple Super Phosphate for short term crops. more..

Developing a Tradition

Jan 12 (DN) My grandparents moved into Lakmahal some seventeen years after they were married. Till then they had not had a house of their own. He was a member of the Ceylon Civil Service, and had served for quarter of a century in different areas of the country. Having joined the CCS in 1912, when he was twenty two, Cyril Wickremesinghe had risen rapidly. By 1920 he was Asst. Revenue Officer in Mannar, the first Ceylonese to be appointed to such a position of responsibility. more..

JVP trying to push the Govt. to terror period of ‘88/’89: Dilan

Jan 12 (DM) Deputy Minister Dilan Perera slammed the JVP in Parliament yesterday stating that the latter was trying to push the country again towards a terror period as in 1988/ 1989. Speaking during the adjournment debate on the attack on CTB workers, Mr. Perera said both the JVP and the SLFP were instrumental in electing President Mahinda Rajapaksa to office, but the former had no right to push the government to the wall for winning their rights. more..

Beef stalls in Trincomalee worry Hindus

Jan 12 (DM) The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has warned against the setting up of beef stalls in the TNA-controlled Local Government area of Trincomalee saying it would pass a resolution against the move at the World Hindu Conference in February. VHP Coordinator for Asia and Pacific Zones Swami Vijayananad has written to TNA leader R. Sampanthan that the sentiments of the vast majority of the Hindus were being trampled on to appease a few in the area. more..

Kohona is Sri Lanka's new Foreign Secretary

Jan 12 (HT) Dr Palitha Kohona, Secretary General of the Sri Lankan government's Peace Secretariat, has been appointed Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the retirement of HMGS Palihakkara. Kohona told Hindustan Times on Friday that he would be in-charge of the Peace Secretariat also, for the time being. more..

Rajapaksa set to net top opposition MPs

Jan 12 (HT) Front rank MPs from the opposition UNP are poised to defect to the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Among those mentioned in this connection are Karu Jayasuriya, Milinda Moragoda, GL Peiris, Rajitha Senaratne, Navin Dissanayake and Gamini Lokuge. It is not clear as to how many will defect, but the government itself wants to get a minimum of 16 defectors so that its dependence on the JVP in the parliament ends, or at least gets minimised. more..

India feels SL peace talks now a mirage

Jan 12 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is back from Sri Lanka with one clear understanding: peace talks between the Tamil Tigers and Colombo are highly unlikely in the near future. Besides extending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's invite to President Mahinda Rajapakse for the April summit in New Delhi of the SAARC, Mukherjee had a one-on-one meeting with Rajapakse during the two-day visit that ended on Wednesday. more..

Tracing an island: the Red Cross reunites families in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (RC) Two days later, Sara gathered with ten volunteers—themselves survivors—under a tree, finding little refuge from the relentless Sri Lankan heat and humidity. Her mission: a crash course on the Red Cross art of reuniting families torn apart by disaster and conflict. Her classroom: the Ampara district, where the waves claimed the highest number of lives and displaced people on this tear-drop shaped island nation that is roughly the size of West Virginia. more..

Relatives appeal for release of Eastern University Vice Chancellor

Jan 12 (TN) Dr.Malaravan, son-in-law of Prof.Sivasubramaniam Raveendranath, the Vice Chancellor of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL) who was abducted on Dec 15th in Colombo in High Security area in the Bauddhaloka Mawatte, issued a second urgent appeal to the abductors to release his uncle. Dr Malaravan said that the members of Raveendranath's family will ensure that the Professor will resign his post of Vice Chancellor at the Eastern University. more..

NorthEast demerger, breach of International Treaty- Sampanthan

Jan 12 (TN) “Not only the Tamil speaking people but also the International Community are unhappy with the de-merger of NorthEastern province. Though the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka told that former President J. R. Jayewardene’s step was defective and invalid, the Sri Lanka's President Mr. Rajapakse who wants to share no powers with Tamils, seized the opportunity quickly and declared the de-merger amidst the opposition from many of his own cabinet ministers and Members of parliament. more..

Commandos take eight Tiger bases in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (AFP) Sri Lankan commandos have taken at least eight bases used by Tamil Tiger guerrillas to launch attacks in the country's east following an operation lasting several days, military officials said. The elite Special Task Force commandos took the eighth base in the district of Ampara early Friday after a three-day operation against the LTTE, a local official said by telephone. more..

Aid group says it was mobbed by Sri Lankan monks

Jan 12 (Reuters) A Dutch Christian aid group that Sri Lanka suspects of helping the Tamil Tigers said on Friday hardline Buddhist monks allied to President Mahinda Rajapakse had mobbed their office and warned them to leave the island. Monks in saffron robes identifying themselves as members of Jathika Hela Urumaya, the Sinhalese nationalist all-Buddhist monk party (JHU), stormed ZOA Refugee Care's office in a residential quarter of Colombo with dozens of supporters on Thursday, the group said. more..

Flash floods kill 14 in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (AFP) At least 14 people were killed and another 61,000 made homeless in south and central Sri Lanka in flash floods caused by heavy monsoon rains. The National Disaster Management Centre said two people were buried alive in a mudslide at Walapane while another was killed in Meepai. Elsewhere local relief workers in Hanguranketha and Nuwara Eliya areas said another 11 were killed when unstable mountain slopes crashed on several homes. more..

U.S. links terror suspect to Canada

Jan 12 (NP) A man accused of working with several Canadian men in the service of a banned terrorist organization has been arrested at an Indonesian airport, reportedly while carrying several foreign passports. Pratheepan Thavarajah, accused of being the principal liaison between the Tamil Tigers leadership in Sri Lanka and its operatives in North America, Europe and Asia, was turned over to the FBI and appeared yesterday in a Brooklyn court, more..

Managala-Thondaman holds a secret discussion

Jan 12 (LeN) The government is paying high attention to a secret 2 and 1/2 hour long discussion between foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera and leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress Arumugam Thondaman that took place during a time which a tense situation is surfacing in the cabinet. According to information available to LeN the discussion had taken place on the Wednesday the 10th at Thondaman's house in Colombo 07. more..

Arnold and Chandana handed World Cup lifeline

Jan 12 (CI) Veterans Russel Arnold and Upul Chandana have been named in Sri Lanka's preliminary 30-man World Cup squad but there is no place for the batsman Thilan Samaraweera. Arnold and Chandana have played over 200 ODIs between them and are joined in the squad, which will be trimmed to 15 by February 13, by Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lankan captain who is continuing his comeback after injury. more..

Prof. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole on dealing with a terrorist suspect

Jan 13 (AT) Prof. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole writes that he was dealing with a terrorist suspect backed by low class thugs and exam cheats at the on-line news websites run by a few Tamil Diaspora, who used to go under multiple names. He adds that he observed that the person concerned has published articles under one particular name. more..

Italy promises humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (AT) Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister has pledged 'maximum possible' humanitarian assistance for civilians in the war torn North and East provinces. During a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Italy's deputy foreign Minister Senator Gianni Vernetti had also emphasized the need for the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to immediately cease hostilities and commence peace negotiations. more..

Sri Lanka & The SAARC Summit

Jan 13 (AT) Sri Lanka has a singular window of opportunity in its campaign of national resistance against Tiger terrorism. That window is provided by the upcoming SAARC summit in April, which will be chaired by India. SAARC summits have played their part as significant nodal points of the interrelationship between Colombo, Delhi, Chennai (then Madras) and Jaffna (as it were). more..

A Call to Peace and End to Arms

Jan 13 (AT) The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies have called for an end to violence that has been created over two decades of conflict and urged it be replaced with a new culture of peace. Humanitarian agencies have urged that lasting peace must be found within the intellectual and moral solidarity of the citizens of Sri Lanka. more..

ZOA Refugee Care denies providing any assistance to LTTE

Jan 13 (AT) ZOA Refugee Care denied providing any assistance to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or to any LTTE-related organizations or to the LTTE-hospital in the area. ZOA Refugee Care is an international and Protestant agency, based in the Netherlands, and focuses on relief and rehabilitation among refugees and IDPs. ZOA is the abbreviation in Dutch for Zuid (South) Oost (East) Azie (Asia). more..

Jafffna Army Commander orders registration of motorcycles

Jan 13 (TN) In a special announcement made on Friday, the Head office of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) command in the North issued strict orders directing residents to register all motor cycles and scooters including the light vehicles used by women in Jaffna peninsula, before Saturday at the SLA camps in their areas, and to obtain permits to operate the vehicles. more..

“A healthy Nation is our main aim” – Says President

Jan 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday asserted that his Government, as envisioned in Mahinda Chintana, would endeavor to develop the health sector to build a healthy nation. President Rajapaksa mentioned this at a functioned held yesterday at Temple Trees, to hand over appointment letters to 1,200 Trainee Supplementary Medical Professionals, more..

Rain causes heavy damages to the Island

Jan 13 (GDI) Due to heavy rains that lashed the East, Central, Uva and Southern provinces from Wednesday caused 13 deaths following land slides in the Nuwara Eliya (Central Province) district and has displaced more than 15,000 in several districts, the Disaster Management Centre said yesterday. more..

‘National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol’ in to action

Jan 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa affirmed that what ever the obstacle comes, he would commit to protect the country from the scourge of alcoholism and the tobacco menace. President Rajapaksa made this observation when he handed over the appointment letters to the members of the newly established National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Extra food items sent for the ‘Thaiponggal’ in Jaffna

Jan 13 (GDI) The government uploaded another shipment of food items for the civilians in Jaffna. This was taken as a special remedial action to avoid any inconvenience of food shortage that can cause during the Tamil’s festive season Thaiponggal (harvest festival). a Presidential Secretariat release said yesterday. more..

No hold back in assistance - German Embassy

Jan 13 (GDI) The German Embassy of Sri Lanka confirms that the German Government has not curtailing their development assistance to Sri Lanka. Releasing a press statement the Embassy, referring to certain media reports published in the recent past, that the situation has been misinterpreted on various occasions and on contrary major efforts are being made to assist people in need in Sri Lanka. more..

Political solution to national issue soon

Jan 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday assured the Bishops of Jaffna, Mannar and Anuradhapura that a political solution to the national issue acceptable to all as hoped by the Bishops will be found after the next All Party Conference (APC). The President said the Government was committed to this task and will make all endeavours to achieve this after the next APC. more..