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School textbook distribution before February 15

Feb 8 (DN) year's school textbook distribution process will be completed before February 15, said Educational Publications Department Director General N. Dharmasena. The distribution of text books is done according to orders received by his Department from Zonal Directors of Education, he said adding that the process could not be completed earlier due to wrong orders received from certain areas. more..

L&T to build Sri Lanka's tallest building

Feb 8 (IANS) India's engineering and construction conglomerate Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) is to build Sri Lanka's tallest building - the 59-storey and 246 metre high Diamond Tower in Colombo. A joint venture between L&T and the Sri Lankan public sector National Housing Development Authority, Diamond Tower will be completed by May 2011, the state-owned Daily News reported Friday. more..

Time for new consensus in Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (UPI) Although Sri Lanka's Independence Day has passed, all people in the country -- Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others -- are more worried than ever about the future of independence, meaning the future of democracy. Clearly, everyone wants a new nation, and everyone is fed up with the style of the one that exists. However, there is confusion about what the new nation should be, creating conflict and even bloodshed. more..

Bracken slides Sri Lanka to 128-run defeat

Feb 8 (CI) It was a rematch between last year's World Cup finalists that turned into a mismatch. Nathan Bracken earned career-best figures as he bowled Australia to a comfortable 128-run win, exploiting the slow SCG pitch to perfection after Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist set up an imposing target of 6 for 253. Kumar Sangakkara looked like carrying on from his last international innings in Australia - he made 192 in the Hobart Test in November more..

The greatest tribute to President Premadasa would be to help eradicate terrorism -- President

Feb 8 (GDI) The highest tribute that we can pay to late President Ranasinghe Premadasa is to join hands with the Government to eradicate terrorism in the country, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking at the ceremony to unveil a portrait of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa in Parliament yesterday. Ranasinghe Premadasa was a politician who dedicated himself to the people, the President said, more..

Civilians bear the brunt of surge in violence

Feb 8 (ICRC) Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has observed an increase in civilian casualties as the number of indiscriminate attacks grows in the north, east and south of the country. Intensified fighting between government forces and the LTTE in the Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar districts has also led to a rise in the number of displaced persons. "We are concerned about the impact the heightened violence is having on civilians," more..

Anglican Church: Both govt and Tigers responsible for the massacre of civilians

Feb 8 (AN) The Anglican Church in Sri Lanka is pointing its finger at the government and the Tamil rebels, condemning the one for the aerial bombardments in the northern villages and the others for their strategy of terrorist attacks. Both are held guilty for the massive losses among civilians, who have always been the real victims of country's bloody conflict. It is the Anglican bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera, who has spoken out with a special message released yesterday on more..

Sri Lanka says 55 Tigers killed as troops take rebel territory

Feb 8 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops captured an area from Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's north after fighting across the region killed 55 rebels, the defence ministry said Friday. Security forces took a village near Adampan in the district of Mannar, where 12 members of the LTTE were killed, the ministry said. It said two government soldiers were killed and five more wounded in the latest fighting. more..

'My heart remains in Sri Lanka'

Feb 9 (DE) After 30 years working in the NHS, a health scare of her own made community mental health nurse Ann Terry reassess her life – a move which led to her working as a VSO volunteer in the war-torn and tsunami-devastated region of eastern Sri Lanka. The experience has had a profound effect on her. She now feels her heart is still in Sri Lanka with the people she helped, and she has already grabbed the chance to make a return visit. more..

War Disguised in Peace Clothing

Feb 9 (GV) Recently I had the privilege of spending my Sunday morning with an eminent panel of academics discussing ‘Language, as a Pathway to Peace’. The Galle Literary Festival is an excellent event and its willingness to venture into the topical and relevant, is praiseworthy. Anyone who has followed the ethnic (or is it just ‘terrorist’) conflict in Sri Lanka will understand the hugely divisive role language has played in its history. more..

Church tries to empower farmers facing threats to their livelihood

Feb 9 (UCAN) The Church has established a farmers' union in central Sri Lanka to help farmers weather the rising price of fertilizer and falling price of their crops. Oblate Bishop Norbert Andradi of Anuradhapura called a meeting to discuss the longstanding problems for farmers in his diocese. Thirty farmers and members of the diocesan laity commission attended the meeting, held Jan. 15 at the catechetical center in Anuradhapura, about 200 kilometers north of Colombo. more..

Obliterate the LTTE

Feb 9 (LG) On May 21, 1991, a suicide bomber strapped with explosives deputed by the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran blew herself up and assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Prabhakaran, who faces charges of involvement in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, still controls the LTTE from hideouts in Sri Lanka's northeast. Successive Governments in India have done precious little, either overtly or covertly, to see that he is brought to face trial for his heinous crime of more..

More migrant workers to developed nations

Feb 9 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to explore the possibility of providing job opportunities for Sri Lankans in developed countries, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Keheliya Rambukwella, stated in Parliament today (08). Accordingly the Government will be eying on Japan, which has already entered into several agreements pertaining to the issue. Poland and Israel will be two other major countries being considered to send Sri Lankan workers, the minister said. more..

'Third dangerous country' for media

Feb 9 (BBC) Sri Lanka is the third dangerous country for media workers, an international media watchdog has said. World Association of Newspapers (WAN) said more media workers were killed only in Iraq and Somalia than in Sri Lanka during the last year. A statement issued on Thursday by WAN said 95 journalists and media workers were killed word-wide as a result of their work in 2007. This is the second highest death toll, says WAN, since it started recording annual deaths since 1998. more..

Bogollagma challenge to the President

Feb 9 (LeN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has canceled the appointing of three persons to the diplomatic service by Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle as the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs. The President appointed Fernandopulle as the Acting Minister while both Foreign Minister and his deputy were away from country and appointed former Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs H.M.G.S. Palihakkara as UN permanent representative, more..

Sri Lankan army team on secret mission in Pune

Feb 9 (TOI) A high-level team of officers from the Sri Lanka military intelligence corps (MIC) and army were brought stealthily into Pune five days ago for advanced intelligence training at Indian Army's various high-security institutions here. The initial phase of the training at the National Defence Academy (NDA) got over on Friday. The team is expected to be briefed on advanced electronic warfare, command, control, communications and computer intelligence at the Military Intelligence Training School and Depot (MITSD), more..

Claims of heavy casualties in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka military on Friday claimed to have made some territorial gains along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in Mannar district amid reports of heavy fighting and casualties. The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the pro-LTTE TamilNet gave conflicting versions of the continuing battles. Both claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the other side. There is no way the reports could be verified independently. more..

Media freedom prevails - Govt.

Feb 9 (BBC) The Sri Lankan authorities have denied accusations that threats against media have dramatically increased in the island. Media minister, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, told BBC Sandeshaya that some in the country try to 'gain advantage' by sending 'wrong information' to media watchdogs. "I don't accept that the situation is so dangerous that journalists cannot work freely in Sri Lanka," he said. more..

India show brotherly love to Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (Gulf) Living up to their status of the regional big brothers, the Indian cricket board has always stood by their counterparts in Sri Lanka. This time, it promises to be no different. The mandarins at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are already looking at options to help the Lankan board following the request of Arjuna Ranatunga, currently at the helm of Lankan cricket. "There is a possibility of hosting some off-shore matches between us, and we are trying to find out a slot when our cricketers are free," more..

Lanka building chamber to open Qatar office in April

Feb 9 (GT) of Construction and Industry (CCI) will open an office in Qatar in April as part of efforts to enhance the Gulf country's construction industry capacity, especially for professional services. Many Qatari private entities, especially relating to real estate, have also evinced interest as developers in the Hitech City project of Sri Lanka, whose construction industry has been recording a consistent annual growth of 8%, according to Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Sri Lanka's Minister of Construction and Engineering Services. more..

Fight to Finish

Feb 9 (LG) The Sri Lankan Army Headquarters in the heart of Colombo is among the most heavily fortified complexes in the country. To get to the office of Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka, commander of the army, one has to go through a confusing maze of security checks. For good reason—a year and a half ago, a suicide bomb attack inside the headquarters by a LTTE saw Fonseka seriously injured and hospitalised for months. more..

Tamil businessman shot dead in Colombo

Feb 9 (TN) Two unknown men riding in a motorbike shot and killed a Tamil businessman, Pulendran Weerasubramaniam, in front of St. Lucias Church in Kotahena Police area Firday around 7:00 p.m. The businessman who hails from Pungkudutheevu in Jaffna was a friend of late Maheswaran MP who was assassinated inside Ponnampala Va'neasvarar temple while attending New Year eve prayers. more..

Sri Lanka at 60: People Under Monarchy

Feb 9 (LG) Celebrating independence is a ritual in any society that has been under colonial rule for a long time. The Americans do so on the 4th July, and the French do it on the 14th July, commemorating their freedom from the monarchy. In our own region, during the past months, India and Pakistan celebrated their “National Days”. We celebrated ours on the 04th of February, at Galle Face under very heavy security while the continuing tragedy of our island nation unfolded further, more..

Women and post-conflict transformation

Feb 9 (LG) While peace talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE resulted in the appointment of a committee to "ensure the effective inclusion of gender issues in the peace process". This is indeed a welcome development which will hopefully lead to the mainstreaming gender issues in the peace process. The Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE need to recognise that women’s participation in peace negotiations can bring a practical understanding of the various challenges faced by more..

Crime & Corruption

Feb 9 (LG) While crime and corruption cannot be totally eliminated, we may look for the reasons why they surface from time to time in epidemic form. A glance at history shows that these two social ailments were relatively less when compared with today. Some people think that the reason for this is the severity with which the kings of those times are said to have punished the guilty. But that is not all the truth, and we should not rush to implement more laws hoping that crime and corruption would disappear. more..

What Is Modernity?

Feb 9 (LG) Modernity is a western phenomenon and it has been explained by the westerners using their own theories. However these theories are culture biased as all theories are, and the westerners try to present a picture where modernity is given a privileged status. How does modernity appear to a Sinhala Buddhist who is not corrupted by a western education? It has to stated, at the outset, that the statement how does modernity appears to somebody other than a westerner or who has been influenced by western education is not quite correct. more..

Veeramunai NGO employees continue to be detained

Feb 9 (TN) Six female employees at the Veeramunai office of a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Social Welfare Organization of Ampaa'rai District (SWOAD), arrested by Sammanthurai police Tuesday afternoon are continued to be detained, civil society sources in Ampaa'rai said. Sammanthurai police said the employees were arrested after the Special Task Force (STF) troopers found a document connected to LTTE in the library of the SWOAD office. more..

Questions to JHU/JVP on Human Rights issue

Feb 9 (SLW) Why was LTTE banned in Western countries? Was it due to JVP and JHU propaganda! NO! It was because of the work done by human rights organizations such as HRW and Amnesty. The reports and documentation of LTTE violations in Sri Lanka by these human rights groups basically destroyed LTTE bases in foreign soils. What have JVP and JHU done against LTTE internationally? Sinhala organizations had only been able to mobilize Sinhalese which made Tamils to be further mobilized into LTTE ranks. more..

JVP must eat their pie

Feb 9 (SLW) In politics today, the most popular question is, which is the lesser evil? Mahinda or Ranil? Many come to the conclusion that there is hardly any choice; hence the best is to have a joint government so that one could neutralise the evil of the other. Or else Ranil should get a majority in Parliament so that he could check the President. While various manipulations are considered to achieve such a dual power, instead of the present monopoly, the JVP claims that it is the real alternative. more..

Wasgomuwa Natl. Park to be reopened on Monday

Feb 9 (LG) After being closed for nearly a fortnight, Wasgomuwa National Park will be re-opened for local and foreign visitors from Feb. 11th, Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said yesterday (Feb. 08th). The Park would remain open between 6 am and 6 pm., he said. The Minister said the Udawalawe National Park would also be re-opened some time next week following an approval of the Defence Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka under pressure to de-politicize price index

Feb 9 (LBO) Pressure in mounting to de-politicize Sri Lanka's new price index, which the authorities are already using as a guide for monetary policy and are pushing trade unions accept it for indexing wages. The new Colombo Consumer Price Index or CCPI (N) has come under fire for excluding alcohol in an attempt to understate inflation and also for not representing the spending patterns of working class people. more..

Batticaloa LG polls: voters must carry identity documents

Feb 9 (GDI) Voers at the local government elections in Batticaloa, scheduled to be held on March 10, 2008 are required to carrry with them any one of a recommended set of documents that certify identity, the Elections Commissioner said yesterday (08) in a media release. These include the National Identity Card, Passport, Driving License, a valid Postal ID Card, Railway Season Ticket ID, Pensioner's ID or Bhikku ID. more..

Indian delegation here next week to boost bilateral trade and investment

Feb 9 (GDI) A high level Indian business delegation led by Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce, will be visiting Sri Lanka next week with the objective of boosting trade and investment between Sri Lanka and India. "The Minister of State for Commerce, Mr Jairam Ramesh is leading a high-powered investment delegation for discussions with the Sri Lankan government on investment opportunities for Indian companies here," a senior Sri Lankan official said. more..

Illegal recruitment for prisons: JVP

Feb 9 (LNP) The JVP charged yesterday the government was currently recruiting hundreds to the prison service in an illegal manner. JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa told parliament this recruitment drive was being carried out urgently on chits sent by ministers and added that non cabinet Justice Minister Dilan Perera had publicly announced that the recruitment was to be completed by February 15. more..

Massive cheque fraud busted in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (LNP) The CID has commenced investigations into a multi-million rupee fraud, where cheques transferred between two banks in Canada had been intercepted and brought to Sri Lanka and an account opened in the name of the payee of the stolen cheque and cash withdrawn. Investigators have so far arrested 10 suspects, including a bank employee, after the first incident was reported. When the first cheque to the value of Rs 42 million was fraudulently encashed by the suspects the Canadian Bank had alerted the local Police and more..

Colombo 2011 eyes emerging mega regional port

Feb 9 (LNP) The Colombo Port is expected to increase capacity by 2.4 million tons before 2011 through the creation of a cargo village while there are few delays in reaching this objective. Addressing the gathering at the forum organized by the Company of Master Mariners with the support of the Nautical Institute yesterday Justice Minister Dilan Perera noted that while the Colombo container port is on track there were delays. more..

Sri Lankan Cheated twice

Feb 9 (LNP) A prospective job seeker was duped to the tune of Rs. 17 million by a person on the pretext of finding him employment in France, the Mt. Lavinia Magistrates Court was told. The money has been obtained in stages. In this case a married woman named Ragu Sarojini a resident of Canal Bank Wellawatte in her complaint to CI Cyril Wijesekera stated that her husband Sadacharam Ragu who was unemployed was told by a friend of her husband named Kandipan who was domiciled abroad, to meet suspect named Thangasrasa at Sobi Communication Centre. more..

CoI status quo restored

Feb 9 (SAMN) The Presidential Secretariat has decided to restore the cuts in emoluments of the Chairman, Secretary and members of the Presidential Commission investigating (CoI) alleged violation of human rights. Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga conveyed this decision to CoI Secretary S.D. Piyadasa Thursday when they met to discuss crucial issues including the resignation of Piyadasa and other CoI members who described the pay cut as insulting. more..

Free air tickets for 32 N-E doctors

Feb 9 (SAMN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will provide free air tickets to 32 doctors who agreed to report for duty in the North and East state hospitals apart from security, food and lodging facilities, a Ministry spokesman said. He said the 32 doctors serving in the North and East state hospitals met Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva recently regarding their requirements. more..

Agreements with Israel, Poland

Feb 9 (SAMN) The government will sign agreements with the authorities of Israel and Poland to provide employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in these two countries, Foreign Employment Minister Keheliya Rambukwella informed parliament in response to an oral question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. Rambukwella said that the agreement with Israel would be inked in March. Besides, he said that the government had already signed an agreement with the Japanese authorities to send Sri Lankan workers to Japan. more..

Farmer villages to produce more milk

Feb 9 (SAMN) With a view to raising the income of the local milk producer, the Central Provincial Council has established twenty (20) 'Milk Farmer Villages', Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake said. This project has boosted the production of fresh milk enabling the farmer to enhance his income. He was speaking at a media briefing on the Policy Statement, of Central Provincial Council for the year 2008, by the Provincial Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa. more..

'Govt recruitment strictly following procedures'

Feb 9 (DN) Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva yesterday told parliament if any recruitment is made against the accepted recruitment procedure in the public service, there are many steps which can be taken against it. The Minister said he was not aware on the allegation made by the JVP that arrangements have been made to recruit nearly 1,000 officers to the Prisons Department before February 15 without following the accepted recruitment procedure in the Public Service. more..

Insect plague hits Southern coconut cultivation

Feb 9 (DN) Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne said in Parliament yesterday that the transport of palm trees to and from the Southern Province has been banned as coconut trees in the province had been affected by an unidentified insect menace. The Minister said owing to the insect menace, more than 10,000 coconut trees in the Southern Province have been destroyed and the authorities are conducting a research. more..

Expat workers remitted US$ 2.8 mn last year – Keheliya

Feb 9 (Island) Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Keheliya Rambukwella told Parliament yesterday (8) that Sri Lankans employed abroad had remitted 2.8 million US Dollars during the last year (2007). He said the number of women who go to work in the Middle East had reduced from 63 to 51 percentage wise. The government was planning to reduce the number still further to 30 per cent. more..

15,341 civilian committees will assist police maintain security - Aluthgamage

Feb 9 (Island) In a bid to combat the deteriorating security situation, the government has decided to establish a total of 15,341 civilian committees to assist the Police countrywide. Non Cabinet Power and Energy Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Thursday’s cabinet press briefing in Colombo that the unarmed civilian committees to be established by February 14, would be required to monitor the security situation in collaboration with the police, in the areas coming under their purview. more..

INGO questioned over making controversial statement

Feb 9 (DM) A leading International Non Governmental Organisation (INGO) has been questioned over a report sent to its parent organisation in the US, alleging that the Security Forces together with para-militaries operating in the East looted their office in Vakarai last year. A Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the activities of NGOs operating in Sri Lanka found the allegation was made even without lodging a police complaint over the stolen items or raising the issue with the Ministry of Defence. more..

Sand mining threatens aquatic resources

Feb 9 (DM) It is reported that sand mining is going on unchecked in Kaltupitioya in Thoduwawa North at Iranawila estuary causing irreparable damage to the river banks. The residents pointed out that more than two kilometres from the estuary area have been destroyed by the sand miners without the least concern about its environmental damage. The aquatic resources and the mangroves are the worst affected. more..

No LTTE intrusion into State: DGP

Feb 9 (Hindu) There is no intrusion of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam into the State, Director General of Police P. Rajendran said here on Friday. “Everything is under our control. The ‘Q’ Branch and the Coastal Security Group are very active and there has been no intrusion,” he told reporters. Law and order in the State was under control and people had confidence in the police. Denying tapping telephones of politicians, Mr. Rajendran said he could not answer those “seeking publicity” from the issue. more..

Fishermen fear Sri Lankan navy may resort to extreme measures

Feb 9 (Hindu) A long-standing problem of Tamil Nadu fishermen has been complicated further following the Sri Lankan navy’s claim that the LTTE attacked its patrol craft from an Indian boat on Monday, and reports of planting of sea mines near Neduntheevu (Delft Island), close to Katchathivu. Monday’s attack reportedly claimed the lives of six sailors. Though Sri Lanka has, in the past, expressed unhappiness over maritime violations by Indian fishermen, this more..

Rice export ban by India not to affect Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka, which imported 70,000 tons of rice from India during 2007, is likely to remain unaffected by a ban on exports of non-basmati rice imposed by New Delhi. This is due to the domestic crop that will hit the Sri Lankan market from this month end, according to traders here. "We are hopeful for being in a comfortable position on rice as the new domestic crop will start arriving from the end of this month and therefore, restrictions by India at this moment will not cause any problem," more..