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Sri Lanka participates at "investing in peace” conference opening in UK this week

Jan 9 (AT) The internationally famous Wilton Park Conferences kicks off its 2007 programme with an issue that is of worldwide concern. The conference while discussing key issues with regard to conflict situations will have working groups examining investing in countries that are or have been trouble spots such Kosovo, Angola, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Algeria. more..

EC and international donor agencies construct tsunami affected roads in Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (AT) The European Commission [EC] , the Asian Development Bank [ADB] and other International Donor agencies have jointly taken steps to reconstruct tsunami devastated road sections from Matara to Batticaloa and construct 400 km of rural access roads in the Ampara district. The EC and other agencies have allocated financial assistance to kick off these projects. more..

INGO wants diplomatic status

Jan 9 (AT) Foreign funded NGOs and INGOs dabbling and interfering in local politics, external affairs, national security and constitutional affairs and the northern terrorist conflict are highly suspected, and unwanted in Sri Lanka. Not all NGOs and INGOs are like this. There are those who do valuable social charitable and community developmental work. more..

President to decide whether it is Mangala or Kohona

Jan 9 (LeN) Reports say that a decision whether Minister Mangala Samaraweera would remain as the foreign minister would be taken within the day (09). A crucial situation has arose as president Mahinda Rajapakse is considering to appoint the head of the government peace secretariat doctor Palitha Kohona For the post of secretary to the ministry of foreign affairs. more..

President is collecting UNP MP's instead of finding solutions - Kiriella

Jan 9 (LeN) UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella says President's hobby is not finding solutions for the country's burning issues but taking over UNP Parliamentarians to his side. He also charged that despite of the honorable peace promised by the President, over 3,000 lives have been sacrificed during the year. more..

Parliament approves journalists’ pension scheme

Jan 9 (GDI) The parliament officially agreed to implement a pension scheme for journalists, under a special Act. According to the Secretary of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, W.B. Ganegala, the media will be briefed on this by next week. Journalists under the Government service, in private media institutions and freelance journalists are eligible for this pension scheme. more..

"Act with responsibility in national interest" - President urges journalists

Jan 9 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa requests the public to assist and cooperate with the ‘Civil Protection Committees’ established to ensure the civilian security. Taking in to consideration of the prevailing security situation in the country the government has established ‘Civil Protection Committees”. more..

Sri Lanka targets US$100 million from foreign lenders

Jan 9 (ANN) Bank of Ceylon (BoC), the leader in terms of assets amongst the commercial banks, is planning to borrow from foreign lenders an amount of US$100 million via a three-year syndication loan, with the HSBC group acting as the manager, industry sources confirmed yesterday. more..

Rain ruins series decider

Jan 9 (CI) Rain ruined the deciding ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka as the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled. The two sides were tied 2-2 after the first four games of the five match series. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bowl but the game couldn't get underway owing to incessant showers. Both teams were at full strength with Sri Lanka naming an unchanged side after their 189-run win at Eden Park. more..

Democratic Tamil political leadership unhappy with N-E de-merger

Jan 9 (ISL) Most Tamil political leaders states that the Northeast de-merger by the Supreme Court in November last year is a imprudent decision which can further push Tamils into the vicious hands of LTTE. The current de-merger because an issue as the Supreme Court decided that the merger of the two provinces into one single unit infringed the Article 12(l) of the Sri Lanka Constitution. more..

There is no need for govt. to be upset if talk of elections is untrue -Tylvin Silva

Jan 9 (SS) The UNP now hopes to go on a new journey. By the time the New Year dawned, UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe was in Tanzania with his wife Maithri. Some of Ranil's former schoolmates too had gone with him to Tanzania to explore forest life. As a result General Secretary Attanayake played the leading role at the New Year festivities at the UNP Headquarters, Sirikotha in the 1st morning. more..

'I believe I can go on this journey with the President' - Mangala

Jan 9 (SS) Some people say that 'Mawbima' is your paper. It was in some newspapers recently that you started 'Mawbima' to grab SLFP leadership. And it was mentioned that you are going to start an electronic media also shortly. What is the truth of this? If 'Mawbima' newspaper is mine I shall be personally happy. more..

Karu to join Govt. with cabinet reshuffle?

Jan 9 (SS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was last week giving the finishing touches to the planned Cabinet reshuffle that is expected to strengthen his government with the crossover of 10 United National Party Members of Parliament, including UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya. more..

10,000 TB cases detected countrywide, says Dr. Ratnasiri Hewage

Jan 9 (SS) Dr. Ratnasiri A. Hewage, attached to the National Programme for Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases, says that anyone with persistent cough for more than three weeks should seek medical advice to ascertain for full-blown T/B. "I urge people with consistent cough to go to Chest Clinics and verify from the doctor whether T/B symptoms are evident", he told the Sunday Standard. more..

Mahinda eyes cabinet reshuffle, opposition seen included

Jan 9 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s president may reshuffle his cabinet, his office said on Tuesday, and an aide said he could bring in opposition politicians into his minority government. President Mahinda Rajapakse`s government is dwarfed by the opposition in parliament after key allies broke away from his coalition, forcing him to reach out to the main opposition United National Party and minority Tamil and Muslim parties. more..

Defence costs blast economy

Jan 9 (LNP) In an apparent indication that the escalating defence budget is taking a heavy toll on the country`s economy, a senior Minister said yesterday the country was losing almost one hundred jobs with each Multi-barrel rocket fired on the LTTE. Senior Minister and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena insisted that though the government was now focussing on military engagements, it was aware that the final solution should be a political one. more..

The bubble has burst!

Jan 9 (LNP) The LTTE is making a desperate attempt to make its presence felt. It has bombed a CEB sub station in Wattala. The blast has, no doubt, caused considerable loss to the state and the LTTE is likely to step up such terror attacks on infrastructural facilities, besides blasting public vehicles. What is happening is a serious threat to public security and everything possible must be done to protect the citizenry and public property. more..

CTB strike today

Jan 9 (LNP) Some 39,000 CTB employees will launch an island-wide strike today demanding salary arrears and other outstanding allowances, union sources said. The All Island Transport Employees Union claimed the authorities had paid little attention to the demands of CTB employees. The employees are also demanding that their allowances be added to the basic salary, the salaries and advances be paid on time and the re-establishing the CTB in a proper manner.

40 Tamils arrested in Colombo suburbs

Jan 9 (TN) More than 40 Tamils were arrested Tuesday in a cordon and search operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Sri Lanka Police from Monday night until morning Tuesday in areas of Minuwangoda, Negombo, Wattala and Gampaha in the western province following the explosion in Wattala Monday morning of a transformer supplying electricity to the area. more..

Parliament debates emergency extension motion

Jan 9 (TN) Prime Minister Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake moved the motion to extend the State of Emergency for another month in the parliament when it met Tuesday morning for the first time in the year 2007. The State of Emergency was introduced in the country on 13 August 2005 soon after the assassination of Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Foreign Minister in Colombo on August 12 midnight, sources said. more..

High-tech frisks at railway stations

Jan 9 (SAMN) The Government has decided to install high-tech security equipment at main railway stations islandwide to avert possible terrorist attacks on passenger trains. Transport Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the equipment will be used to conduct body checks on people entering railway stations, scan their baggage, and thus ensure the security of train commuters. more..

Court stops Telecom strikes

Jan 9 (BBC) Telecom workers Sri Lanka have been ordered by the courts not to take industrial action until further notice. Colombo District Court issued injunction orders against 18 trade unions on Monday after considering a petition by Sri Lanka Telecom. The workers were ordered not to take any strike action within the premises of Telecom headquarters and regional offices. more..

Water resource will never be sold: MR

Jan 9 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa affirmed that he will never ever make the resource of water a commercial commodity. "We will never sell our precious water resource," President Rajapaksa said Monday. The President made this pledge when he addressed via satellite the inauguration of the initial phase of the Water Service project for Kandy and its suburbs. more..

LTTE hoping for backlash: CP

Jan 9 (SAMN) Issuing a statement on the recent bus bomb explosions, the Communist Party of Sri Lanka said that the Northern extremists were depending on their Southern counterparts to provoke a backlash in the South. "Being aware of the nature of the LTTE terrorists and the pattern of their violence in the past, one can easily come to the inescapable conclusion that those bomb explosions were caused by the LTTE. more..

CEB sub- station blasted, two arrested

Jan 9 (SAMN) The CEB power supply sub-station at Maradana Road, Hendala Wattala, was blasted by a powerful bomb, around 2.00 a.m. Monday, causing heavy damages running into millions of rupees, Wattala Police said. There were two security guards on duty at the time of the blast but the police investigating the attack were not able to say how the saboteurs gained entrance to the sub-station which is protected by a security wire mesh wall. more..

More facilities for rural hospitals

Jan 9 (DN) Health Care Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said all democratic, freedom loving leaders of the political parties in the country had strengthened the hands of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to eradicate terrorism in the North and East. "The government cannot hold peace talks without maintaining the security in the country," he said. more..

Sunil Shantha's CD, cassette launched

Jan 9 (DN) Sunil Shantha, a legendary musician in Sri Lanka has given his best for the progress of the local music and his contribution in this field was remarkable, said Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara. Speaking at the launch of the CD and Cassette containing the songs of the veteran musician at the SLBC recently, the Speaker said that most of his aesthetic creations originated within the SLBC surrounding and gave a new life to the local musical arena. more..

Christian Council appeals to MR to reconsider PTA

Jan 9 (DM) The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) expressed fear that the recently introduced emergency regulations on the Prevention of Terrorism may lead to the suppression of legitimate activities and democratic dissent. A statement issued by the council further said Churches were required to fulfil the mandate given by God to serve all people and eliminate suffering, poverty, need, destitution regardless of race caste and creed. more..

On-going security draws mixed reactions

Jan 9 (DM) The public do not seem to be satisfied with the present security arrangements and most are of the opinion that it would not last for long. “When everything returns to normal, at least for a few days, all current arrangements would be forgotten,” said E.A.M. Edirisinghe a BOI employee. Mr. Edirisinghe added that the present security situation was not satisfactory and that both the public and government should strengthen it. more..

'Minister's mob' attack peace rally

Jan 9 (BBC) An anti-war rally in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, was sabotaged by a mob led by a government minister. A peace rally organised by the United Peoples Movement (UPM), a political group which represented a wide range of political parties and organisations was abandoned after an attack led by a junior minister of the government. more..

Cabinet reshuffle soon - President

Jan 9 (BBC) He is planning to change several portfolios in the cabinet in the very near future said the President to a group of Editors and media heads. The country needs to come out of continuing conflict said the President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday. The president also expressed his views on media freedom in Sri Lanka. more..

Indian FM to hold talks in Colombo on economic blockade in Jaffna

Jan 9 (IRNA) Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee left for Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, earlier today for a two-day official visit. Although Mukherjee's visit to the island nation is primarily to invite President Mahinda Rajapakse to the 14th SAARC Summit, it will provide an opportunity to the two countries to discuss the peace process and humanitarian situation in Tamil-dominated Jaffna, more..

'Tamils die' in Sri Lanka attacks

Jan 9 (BBC) Two more civilians have been killed by army shelling in eastern Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels say. Three others died after troops shelled a hospital inside rebel-held territory in Batticaloa district, rebels said on Monday. Another 21 are reported hurt. The military called the allegations "false propaganda" and insisted troops had attacked rebel gun positions. more..

Civilians bearing brunt of conflict

Jan 9 (ICRC) The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) deplores the recent death and injury to civilians caused by two attacks on civilian buses in Galle and Gampaha districts. Eighteen persons were killed and some 50 injured in explosions on buses south of Colombo on 5 and 6 January. The ICRC is deeply concerned about the rising number of civilians being injured or killed in Sri Lanka's escalating violence. more..

Tharoor rubbishes Dhanapala's contention

Jan 9 (TOI) Strongly rejecting the contention of Jayantha Dhanapala that his entry into the race for the post of UN Secretary-General had "spoiled" the Sri Lankan's chances, Indian diplomat Shashi Tharoor has said he would not have entered into the fray if he thought the island country's nominee had the "slightest chance of prevailing". more..

Pranab to meet Rajapaksa, reiterate India's position

Jan 9 (Hindu) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrives here on Tuesday on a day-long visit. He is expected to reiterate the Indian position for expeditious resolution of the ethnic conflict to address aspirations of all sections, including Tamils, within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils send food and medicine by post to northern peninsula

Jan 9 (AP) Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamils are sending badly needed food and medicine by post to their relatives living in the country's north, which has been hit by a severe shortage of essential goods, an official said on Tuesday. More than 12,000 parcels, mainly containing infant milk, sugar and medicines have been received by the main post office in Jaffna peninsula so far, more..

20,000 displaced face tough time after fleeing fighting in eastern Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (UNHCR) More than 20,000 people have fled fighting and harsh conditions in the eastern Sri Lankan costal strip of Vaharai in the past three weeks, but despite reaching relative safety they still face many problems and an uncertain future. "Everyone we have spoken to has said their route out of Vaharai was extremely difficult," said Yoko Akasaka, more..

APRC to continue dialogue

Jan 9 (PISL) The All Party Representative Committee yesterday agreed to continue the power devolution dialogue based on the set of proposals submitted by its Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana. All political parties representing the APRC except the JVP participated in the meeting during which Prof. Vitarana presented the document drafted by him incorporating views and decisions discussed previously among the political parties. more..

LTTE resorting to terror acts in desperation - Defence Spokesman

Jan 9 (PISL) The recent events which have unfolded in the South and the evidence shows that the LTTE, has chosen the path of violence and is not interested in a negotiated settlement, Government Defence Affairs Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. more..

Sri Lankan army captures truck with explosives; 2 rebels killed, military says

Jan 9 (IHT) Sri Lanka's elite anti-terrorist commandoes seized a truck packed with explosives when they overran a key Tamil rebel base in the country's east. The military said the vehicle was destined for targets in the capital. Separately, the military said the army killed two rebels in the northern district of Vavuniya. more..

Civilians killed in Sri Lanka hospital shelling: Tiger rebels

Jan 9 (AFP) At least four civilians were killed and 16 hurt by Sri Lankan army shelling inside rebel-held territory, the Tamil Tigers said, as sporadic violence was reported in the island's troubled northeast. The rebel LTTE said on its website that one more civilian was killed and five injured in Tuesday's shelling in the Vakarai area. more..

Sri Lanka eyes reshuffle, opposition MPs seen wooed

Jan 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's president may reshuffle his cabinet, his office said on Tuesday, and an aide said he could bring in opposition MPs to shore up his minority government in a move that could deepen political divisions. President Mahinda Rajapakse's government is dwarfed by the opposition in parliament after hardline Marxist allies broke away from his coalition, forcing him to reach out to the main opposition UNP and minority Tamil and Muslim parties. more..

Sri Lanka president mulls cabinet reshuffle; discounts election

Jan 9 (AFP) President said a cabinet reshuffle was being considered but discounted local media reports that he would call a snap parliamentary election. President Mahinda Rajapakse said he saw no reason for a general election "at this stage," according to a statement released by his office. "There were no problems with the functioning of parliament, and an election would only be needed if the balance of forces in Parliament changes," more..

Transport Board to get more subsidies and new buses while losses mount

Jan 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka government is planning to inject more subsidies into the loss making, heavily unionized state bus service, following violent protests by workers connected to a Marxist nationalist party. Transport Minister A H M Fowzie said he was in talks with the Treasury to get 190 million rupees for a 5000 rupee delayed payment relating to the months of December 2004 and January 2005, more..

Sri Lanka baffled by mass deaths of migratory birds

Jan 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's veterinary authorities have begun tests on hundreds of migratory birds that dropped dead in two sanctuaries, health officials said Wednesday. Residents in Nikaweratiya, known to lie on a route taken by migratory birds, reported the mass deaths and public health and veterinary authorities have begun investigations, local officials said. more..

Compensation for victims of election violence

Jan 10 (GDI) Government compensated the families of the victims of the election violence of the 2001 – 2004 period. Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayake handed over the compensation to the families of the victims at a special ceremony organised at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (09). more..

US condemn LTTE attack on civilians

Jan 10 (GDI) United States Ambassador Robert O. Blake yesterday condemned the bomb attacks on civilian buses that took place on January 5th and January 6th that claimed the lives of numerous innocent civilians and wounded many more. “Attacks that deliberately target civilians are clear acts of terrorism. The United States extends its deepest sympathy to the families of the victims,” said the ambassador. more..

Trade promotions between India and Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (GDI) Bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka are to be tightened with the new trade promotional activities which are on the cards for this year. According to the Minister Counsellor of the Deputy High Commission, Buddhadasa Herath, the trade promotional activities between the two countries are to enter in to a new era with programmes such as the visit of trade promotion delegation to Sri Lanka from the Thiruvananthapuram, Chamber of Commerce, Kerala, end of February. more..

President reiterates steadfast commitment to political solution

Jan 10 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated his steadfast commitment to a negotiated political solution to the national issue, at a meeting with visiting Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee at 'Temple Trees' yesterday. The Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Colombo yesterday, with a letter from Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India inviting more..