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President says rebel bombs are fuelling ethnic backlash

Jan 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president has accused Tiger rebels of stoking an ethnic backlash by majority Sinhalese on the minority Tamil community after 17 people died in bomb blasts on crowded buses at the weekend. "The aim of the LTTE is to have a backlash against the Tamils and to undermine our efforts to find a peaceful solution," President Mahinda Rajapakse said in a statement released by his office Sunday. more..

SLMM: CFA still in force

Jan 8 (BBC) The international truce monitors in Sri Lanka have warned Sri Lanka government and the Tamil Tigers to cease all violence against the civilian population. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) has reminded the parties to the conflict that the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed in February 2002 "still in force". more..

No bags in Sri Lanka buses

Jan 8 (BBC) Bus workers in Sri Lanka have been urged not to allow big parcels on board while carrying passengers. In a meeting held in Colombo with the transport authorities, bus workers were asked to get a certificate on safety before starting the journey from a bus terminal. more..

Indian Minister arriving in Sri Lanka amidst tense security situation

Jan 8 (AT) India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon to invite President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the 14th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to be held in New Delhi from April 3-4 this year. Mukherjee is visiting SAARC nations to invite the heads of state or governments for the upcoming Summit of the seven-member regional organization. more..

Food items for Jaffna again from Chennai

Jan 8 (AT) Government has decided to purchase food items again in Chennai and bring it directly to Jaffna for distribution. For the second time, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered the purchase of food items again from Chennai and brings it directly to Jaffna. It is learnt that once the unloading of the MV Mercs Ruhuna, which brought 3500 MT of food items from Chennai directly to Jaffna on last Thursday is over by today, then the ship would proceed immediately to Chennai to bring again another shipment. more..

Tamil youth arrested in Sri Lanka for loitering around a reservoir

Jan 8 (AT) A 24-year-old Tamil youth was arrested on Sunday afternoon by Maskeliya police on 'suspicion' for loitering and acting in a suspicious manner around the Moussakelle reservoir, a high security zone. During the arrest, the youth had in his possession two national identity cards one indicating him to be a resident of Maskeliya and the other to be a resident of Vavuniya. more..

Tamil Tiger arms buyer will be extradited to US to be tried for gun running charges to New York

Jan 8 (AT) The Indonesian police in Jakarta said that a leading gun runner of the Sri Lankan terrorist group Tamil Tigers will be extradited to the United States in few days on charges that he was allegedly smuggling arms for use in terrorist attacks in New York. more..

INGOs and NGOs assistant is sought to prepare post tsunami recovery development projects in Hambantota

Jan 8 (AT) Agricultural Development Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, has decided to meet representatives NGOs, INGOs and Divisional Secretaries of Hambantota District to obtain their views, observations, recommendations and participation in implementation of the Post-tsunami Recovery development programs of the entire district during the year 2007. more..

Dr. Palitha Kohona in Sydney on a peace mission

Jan 8 (AT) "Killings of innocent people are major part of the campaign of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. My deputy was also gunned down by the LTTE. That was the first time I saw such a horrible killing. We need Australian support for bringing LTTE to the negotiation table. It can be done only by blocking the funding to the LTTE which channeled through its Tamil Diaspora" Dr Palitha Kohona further said. more..

No peace in Sri Lanka

Jan 8 (KT) THE more the hope builds up, the more the sense of hopelessness in Sri Lanka, a nation troubled by a rebel offensive that saw over 65,000 dead in the past three decades. The rebels are again in a mood for an open war, and the political leadership does not seem to measure up to the situation. more..

Sri Lanka's Muslims trapped in a deepening conflict

Jan 8 (Reuters) Like thousands of other Muslims, shopkeeper Rasool Haniffa was given just two hours to pack up and leave his home in northern Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tiger rebels. They said he could only take 150 rupees ($1.40) and a set of clothes, and that he would be allowed to return once the LTTE, fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils in the north and east of the island, had won the conflict with the government. more..

Better deal for N-E, North Central hospitals

Jan 8 (PISL) HealthCare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva will upgrade North and East and North Central hospitals to provide better medical facilities for the Armed Forces, Ministry sources said. The sources said the project's main intention is to provide better and modern medical facilities for war heroes and the residents. more..

Japan condemns attack on civilian buses

Jan 8 (GDI) The Japanese Government issuing a press release condemning the LTTE’s attack on the civilian buses says that these attacks, which deliberately target innocent common people, must be condemned as cowardly acts of terrorism, and such incidents must not be repeated in future. more..

All should unite to defeat terrorism - President

Jan 8 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared on Saturday that all should unite to defeat terrorism and bring peace to the country so that all communities could live in amity. Participating in a religious ceremony at the Keththarama Kande Viharaya, Kalutara, President Rajapaksa said both religious and political leaders have a role to play in moulding a peace loving society. more..

Clarion call for public vigilance

Jan 8 (GDI) The Defence Ministry yesterday urged the public to be much stronger psychologically and to be on red alert to defeat terrorism by effectively frustrating the ulterior motives of the LTTE which is targeting civilians. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the LTTE is now engaged in these brutal acts against innocent civilians to exert pressure on the political leadership to relax the military pressure on the LTTE in the North and East. more..

President stresses integrated village development

Jan 8 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa asserted that the 'Gama Neguma' (Village Upliftment) programme should be based on a coordinated and focused effort of all the development projects undertaken by the ministry and its departments, to a selected village, instead of simultaneous development projects spread among many villages on an ad hoc basis. more..

LTTE desertions increase as forces step up pressure in East

Jan 8 (LNP) The two-and-half month long campaign involves Special Forces, Commandos and the infantry. The ground action is backed by the air force. `We have inflicted sizeable losses on the enemy. They are on the run,` a senior military official said on Sunday. Referring to bomb attacks on two private buses over the weekend, he said that this could be a sign of desperation. `They are trying to offset battlefield losses by triggering chaos in the South.` more..

Thai credit card fraud: 5000 fake credit cards in Sri Lankans` possession

Jan 8 (LNP) Thai authorities have seized more than 5000 fake credit cards and arrested three Sri Lankan men, police said today. Police Lieutenant Colonel Boonlert Ongklang said they seized 1750 credit cards in the suspects` rental car, and later found thousands more at their hotel, leading to a record confiscation of 5350 cards, a news agency reported. more..

Operations to continue

Jan 8 (LNP) A major security plan for the country was discussed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and defence officials on Saturday night and decided to continue with the ongoing `defensive measures` against the LTTE in the North and East unhindered. It is learnt that during the discussion it was suggested to implement a security plan for the entire nation as soon as possible with the participation of the public, a senior defence official said. more..

Volunteer teachers to be made permanent

Jan 8 (LNP) Cabinet approval was given last week to grant permanent appointments to volunteer teachers, in the next four months. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told the Daily Mirror last week that these volunteer teachers would be appointed first as `teacher assistants`, to be later absorbed as permanent teachers, after completing their University Degree or the Diploma at the National Colleges of Education (NCE). more..

APRC report within two months

Jan 8 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) is expected to submit its final report on the national question within two months, APRC Chairman Minister Tissa Vitarana said Sunday. Prof. Vitarana who is currently drafting his own document incorporating matters discussed at various rounds of meetings said he expected to discuss this particular document with the Committee members at the two rounds of meetings scheduled for this week. more..

Electric shock for hotel industry

Jan 8 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s hotel industry currently running at low occupancy is facing an electric shock with no relief on the new electricity tariff that excludes the country’s fourth largest income generating sector. The hotel industry has been excluded from the 20% rebate on the new electricity tariff afforded to the industries sector, making a distinction that hotels do not fall into the industrial category, industry officials said. more..

Tsunami orphans still living in shelters

Jan 8 (SAMN) According to a recent report published by ‘Save the Children’, 29 per cent of children orphaned by the tsunami continue to live in temporary shelters, even two years after the catastrophe that caused widespread devastation in the country. While some of the orphans live with their relatives, others were found to be living either in temporary shelters or temporary tents, according to the report. more..

Civilian casualties worry SLMM

Jan 8 (SAMN) The SLMM has expressed deep concerns over the rising number of civilian casualties resulting from a spate of attacks by the LTTE and Government forces. In separate statements posted on its website, the monitors have drawn attention to the twin bus bombings, Air Force attack in Mannar and a string of claymore attacks and reminded the parties that the Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA) was still in force. more..

UN condemns bus bombings and urges protection of all civilians

Jan 8 (AT) The United Nations has condemned the deliberate targeting of civilians and deplores the latest incidents involving two civilian buses which resulted in the deaths of over 20 innocent civilians with dozens maimed and injured. The United Nations calls for the protection of all civilians throughout the island. The situation in Vaharai in the east is grave and demands an urgent response. more..

Dr. Nissanka Wijeratne passes away

Jan 8 (DN) Dr. Nissanka Wijeratne (83), former Minister, Diayawadana Nilame, Ambassador and public servant passed away yesterday. A civil servant from 1958 to 1962, Dr. Wijeratne first served as the Government Agent of Anuradhapura and Jaffna. He played a key role to formulate the Anuradhapura Sacred city plan when serving as the GA, Anuradhapura. more..

Police question suspects on bus explosions

Jan 8 (DN) Acting on information received, the Police have taken over five persons for questioning on the Godagama, Meetiyagoda bomb blast on Saturday in a private bus and has taken three into police custody on suspicion. The ill-fated bus was travelling from Colombo. The explosion has killed eleven persons and had caused injury to over 40 others travelling at the time of the blast. more..

Illicit logging in Wahagahapuwewa forest reserve bared

Jan 8 (DM) A large-scale timber racket carried out in a forest reserve in Wahagahapuwewa area in the Yan Oya valley was raided by the Horowpathabna police on Saturday. Sub Inspector of police E.M. Sujeewea Mahanama who led the team of police personnel who raided the site, said that according to what was revealed in the inquiry, this racket had been carried out for nearly two years with the assistance of certain public officers. more..

Continue attacks on NE targets -JVP

Jan 8 (DM) The JVP while condemning the recent bus bomb blasts aiming civilians said the Government should act fast to mobilise the entire nation to defeat terrorism. The JVP politburo said the people will be committed towards protecting national security voluntarily only if the government gave them the impression that it is also willing to single mindedly end terrorism. more..

Bombs exploded as CFA was not adhered to! – Secretary General of UNP

Jan 8 (LT) Without sacrificing lives of innocent people the Government should propose a political solution to the North-East question immediately said Secretary General of the UNP Tissa Attanayake. He said the UNP condemned the two bomb explosions carried out by the LTTE and said such a situation occurred in the country due to the failure to adhere to the ceasefire agreement. more..

Arms recovered from Captain’s father’s house

Jan 8 (LT) A large stock of bombs and ammunition has been found when the residence of the father of Army captain who has been detained for supplying information to tiger terrorists was raided by the Army Police. The Army Captain was arrested at Welikande for supplying vital information to the tigers for financial gains. more..

Construction of “Ralajayapura’ commences!

Jan 8 (LT) The foundation stone laying ceremony for “Ralajayapura”, a housing project constructed with “Tsunami Relief Fund” of the JVP was held yesterday at Labeemawatte in Dickwella, Matara under the auspices of Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, Leader of the JVP. Mr. Amarasinghe addressing the gathering said When tsunami destruction devastated the land it was “Red Star” Relief Brigade that came to the assistance of the distressed. more..

SL troops confirmly denies firing the Vakarai Hospital

Jan 8 (GDI) Sri Lankan Military forces vehemently deny the allegations fabricated by the pro-LTTE websites, saying that the Sri Lankan troops targeted the Vakarai Hospital and the innocent civilians within. The Army denies opening fire at the Vakarai Hospital using mortars and artillery. more..

Jaffna students burn down a school bus; suspects LTTE behind the scene

Jan 8 (GDI) As the military sources reveal a group of students have set fire to the bus that burnt down this morning in front of the Jaffna Hindu College. “After getting down from the school bus, these students have set fire and we strongly suspect that the LTTE is behind triggering the scene with the aim of instigating school children into disruptive acts,” Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

New Industrial Zone in Kappalthurei, Trincomalee

Jan 8 (GDI) The construction work of the Trincomalee, Kappalthurei industrial zone began yesterday with the presence of Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Rohitha Bogollagama. This is one of the mega economical development projects that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised in his ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ in 2005’s Presidential campaign. more..

Tharoor spoiled my UN chances: Dhanapala

Jan 8 (PTI) Jayantha Dhanapala, the Sri Lankan candidate who withdrew from the contest for the post of UN Secretary-General after finishing near the bottom in straw polls, has said that India's fielding of Shashi Tharoor acted as "spoiler" to his chances. "The fact that they (Indians) waited until quite late in the process to announce Tharoor's candidature was unfortunate and it was certainly seen as spoiler to my own candidature," more..

Lanka may turn a deaf ear to Pranab

Jan 8 (HT) With two bomb blasts killing 21 Sinhala civilians near Colombo last week, Sri Lankan leaders will not be in a mood to listen to any sermon from the visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee about the need to end the war now and go for a negotiated settlement with the LTTE. more..

Karu left out of UNP deputy leadership

Jan 8 (LeN) It is being reported that UNP Leader of the Gampaha district Karu Jayasuriya is to lose all most all designations held by him including the electoral organizer post. Jayasuriya was the Meerigama electorate organizer for the UNP, but the party has recently appointed son of former UNP Parliamentarian from Meerigama Mahendra Wijeratne's son Udeni Wijeratne. Jayasuriya had not been informed of the appointment. more..

Minister Tennakoon presents a wonderful gift to Bandaranaike's, on former prime ministers birthday

Jan 8 (LeN) A movement to erase the Bandaranaike name from the Sri Lanka freedom party is now surfacing. This is how Minister of Local Government Janaka Bandara Tennakoon who is the son of former SLFP Parliamentarian T.B. Tennakoon, who also took up politics thanks to Bandaranaike�s had directly and indirectly attacked the existing Bandaranaike's during an interview with the "Lankadeepa" news paper. more..

STF captures the LTTE’s ‘Stanley base’

Jan 8 (GDI) Today (08) afternoon, the Special Task Force (STF) was able to capture a LTTE main camp ‘Stanley base’ in Kanchkudichcharu in the Eastern part of the island. Speaking at the weekly media briefing today, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe revealed this to the media. LTTE have used this camp as a base to open fire at many places around this area causing heavy threats to the security and the civil lives, more..

Sri Lanka Telecom trade unions threaten to walk out on Jan. 10

Jan 8 LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom trade unions including non executive technical staff are threatening to go on strike next week, if the telecom giant fails to sort out salary anomalies, promotions and restrict short-term contracts. The union official says the company had not yet granted 17.5 percent, 20.0 percent or 25.0 percent salary increase that was promised from January. more..

Sri Lankan Apparel industry’s new face

Jan 8 (F2F) The Sri Lankan Apparel Industry has recently launched a campaign to introduce their new industry-appropriate trademark-‘Garments without Guilt’. It is the “only outsourced apparel manufacturing country in Asia” which has signed up to 39 of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Conventions. Additionally, Sri Lanka has ratified all 8 of the core labour conventions of the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and rights at work. more..

Sri Lanka rebels say army shells kill 3 in east

Jan 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan army shells hit a hospital complex in the island's restive northeast district of Trincomalee killing three civilians and wounding 11, the Tamil Tigers said on Monday, but the military denied it had fired. The LTTE said shells had fallen in the town of Vakarai, which lies in a pocket of rebel-held coastal territory around 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Colombo -- which the army has surrounded and vowed to take control of. more..

Sri Lanka says rebels blow up electricity transformer

Jan 8 (Reuters) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels blew up an electricity transformer 6 miles (10 km) north of the capital on Monday, the military said, disrupting power supplies and damaging 10 homes but causing no casualties. Police have arrested two people for questioning over the incident, one of them a guard at the power substation. more..

Put ban on Tigers' support: Sri Lanka

Jan 8 (SMH) THE head of a Sri Lankan Government peace mission has urged the Australian Government to enact domestic laws making it an offence to raise money for the Tamil Tigers. Dr Palitha Kohona has been in Australia to talk to Sri Lankan expatriates and government officials. His visit coincided with fresh terrorist attacks in his country. Eleven people were killed on Saturday when a suspected suicide bomber blew up a bus. more..

Fear and loathing in south Sri Lanka after bus bombs

Jan 8 (Reuters) Lying in a hospital bed, his neck bandaged and tears in his eyes, Sri Lankan student Mohamed Aknas is not only afraid of suspected Tamil Tiger bombers -- but also his ethnic Sinhalese neighbors. The 19-year-old was heading to a tutorial on Saturday to prepare for school exams when a blast tore through his bus on the island's southern coastal road, killing 11 people and wounding dozens. more..

Sri Lanka steps up security after bus bombings

Jan 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka has stepped up security on public transport after two weekend bomb attacks killed 21 bus passengers. The Elite Special Task Force Commandos also captured a base of the LTTE in the east of the island, the defence ministry said Monday. The bus bombings are seen as tit-for-tat attacks by the rebel LTTE, who face a Sri Lankan army push into the northeastern rebel-held town of Vakarai, where civilians are unable more..

Lanka IOC breaks ground on lubricant plant in Tricomalee

Jan 9 (LBO) Lanka IOC, a unit of Fortune 500 Indian Oil Corp. has laid the foundation stone on its upcoming lubricant blending plant over weekend, after the Sri Lankan government settle settled 5.16 billion rupees in unpaid subsidy bills last Friday, officials said. more..

Sri Lanka rebels suffer fresh setback, lose control of a major camp in Amparai

Jan 9 (AT) The LTTE has suffered yet another major setback, after losing control of a major (LTTE) camp in the Eastern province on Monday afternoon, the media centre for national security told the Asian Tribune. The camp named 'Stanley' situated in Amparai's Kanjikudichcharu was often used by the Tamil Tiger rebels to attack security forces. more..

LTTE is neither the sole liberators nor the representatives of Sri Lankan Tamils - JHU

Jan 9 (AT) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had reiterated that the LTTE was neither the sole liberators nor the representatives of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, at a special meeting held with the Indian High Commissioner Ashok Prasad to discuss the present situation in the North and East. more..