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Armour plates for passenger buses in Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (PTI) Shaken by a spate of claymore mine attacks against passenger buses that killed scores of people during the last two months, Sri Lankan government is planning to provide armour plates for the public vehicles to minimise the damage if they are hit by roadside bombs. "We are undertaking a pilot project of fitting armour plates on two buses," Transport Ministry Secretary Nihal Somaweera said. more..

Sri Lanka troops close in on rebel town

Feb 9 (AP) Fighting raged across Sri Lanka's embattled north killing 44 combatants as government troops closed in on a strategic rebel-held town, the military said Saturday. The latest gunbattles that erupted along the front lines in the northern districts of Jaffna, Mannar and Vavuniya killed 41 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers on Friday, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Sripathi Sooriayaarachchi – the tragic end of a fighter

Feb 9 (AT) Latest reports reveals that Sripathi Sooriayaarachchi has been killed in a fatal road accident that took place at Madagama, in the Galgamuwa area this afternoon, February 09. According to the police sources, the vehicle carrying Sripathi Sooriayaarachchi crashed into a tree around 1.15.p.m. when it slipped off the road due to high speed. The vehicle was travelling from Anuradhapura to Colombo enroute via Thambuththegama, sources said. more..

Sripathi Dead in an Accident

Feb 9 (LG) Parliamentarian of ruling SLFP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi and two of his bodyguards were dies following an accident in Thambuththegama, Anuradhapura, few minutes ago. The jeep in which he was travelling in from Anuradhapura to Colombo had lost control and hit a roadside tree. Sooriyarachchi was rushed to the Thambuttegama Hospital where he was pronounced dead on admission. The driver of the vehicle, Priyantha Samarasinghe and a close friend of the MP, S.K.R. Silva (Chief Executive Officer of Isura FM), died on the spot. more..

Getting Prabhakaran

Feb 10 (IT) 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..

'We now want only a final solution'

Feb 10 (IT) In the past few months, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse seems to have come into his own. His defence forces are notching up successes against the LTTE, he has fended off attempts to have his Government defeated in Parliament and is one step ahead of his rivals by announcing a devolution package for the Tamils. In an exclusive interview in his Temple Trees office in the heart of Colombo, a confident Rajapakse spoke to India Today Managing Editor Raj Chengappa about what he sees as the challenges ahead. more..

People make wrong choices - Speaker

Feb 10 (SLW) Recently, no less a person than the Speaker of Parliament said that there is a decline in the Parliamentary standards and blamed it on the people for making wrong choices. Whether the ‘wrong choices’ meant by him referred to the Govt., the President, the Minister or all politicians is a matter of conjecture. But, one truth stands out in the present political context that it is the ‘wrong choices’ of the people that have led this country into this utter dismay and despair for themselves. more..

Western Science, Buddhism and Chinthanaya

Feb 10 (LG) What is known as science is a corpus of knowledge that has been created mainly in the west since about the sixteenth century. This body of knowledge, though presented very often as an objective knowledge of an objective reality, is not independent of culture and is created within the western Christian cultures. The few non westerners who have contributed to "science" also have the same cultural basis at least in their respective professions and more..

Let’s make National Integration our priority

Feb 10 (LG) "This is the country of our birth. We have been born in this country. Our people have lived in this country for centuries. We will die in this country. Our descendants will be born in this country. And when the time comes it will be our duty – and, we hope, our privilege – to fight for this country, to preserve the integrity of this country." These were the stirring words of a true patriot, not one of those self-styled patriotic nationalists who claim that they alone are the saviours of our country. more..

Lawyer Imam Becomes First Muslim MP From Jaffna

Feb 10 (TC) History was made on February 5th when Rizwan Mohammed Imam was sworn in as a national list MP of the Tamil National Alliance which contested on the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi ticket during the last elections held in 2004. The 61 year old lawyer hailing from Moor street in Jaffna town became the first ever Muslim from Jaffna district to become a Parliamentarian. RM Imam as he is generally known has replaced M. Kanagendran alias Eelaventhan as national list MP. more..

Tigers Oust “King of Eelam” As TNA National List MP

Feb 10 (TC) MK Eelaventhan nominated as MP on the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) national list has been deprived of his Parliamentary membership. Eelaventhan which means “King of Eelam” had been in Parliament since 2004. A Muslim lawyer from Jaffna, Rizwan Mohammed Imam, has been appointed in his place. Eelaventhan lost his seat in Parliament because he was absent without leave from Parliament for more than three months last year. The septugenarian was away in North America for some months. more..

In the Aftermath of the APRC Debacle

Feb 10 (TC) Former Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi was unseated as MP for the Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareilly in 1975 when courts ruled in favour of an election petition filed by her chief opponent Raj Narain.In a controversial move she declared emergency rule and jailed her political rivals in the opposition. Censorship was imposed. But to the eternal shame of India’s fourth estate the media fell in line meekly. more..

Heart to Heart Chat with Somawansa - 4

Feb 10 (AT) The J V P Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe expressed the view that they will establish a democracy where everyone would have equal rights. He added “as I told you few days back we will have a political system that we are building at the moment. It is to establish an economy based on both state and private sector. And both sectors will be encouraged by the government and all the support will be given by the government. more..

The Sashi factor rocks the JVP

Feb 10 (SL) In a new twist to the JVP's internal conflict, wife of Party Propaganda Secretary, Wimal Weerawansa, Shirsha "Sashi" Udayanthi, has openly entered the fray as a powerful force and warned the party leadership their inner dealings would be exposed unless her grievances are addressed forthwith. In a warning shot to the Marxists, Weerawansa's wife has looked to Sampath Dimuthu Ketapearachchi, the man the JVP publicly accused of taking the inner party conflicts to the media as an ally for her future battles. more..

Fear psychosis grips the south as govt. readies to face UN Security Council

Feb 10 (SL) While a fear psychosis gripped the country as the escalating conflict between the security forces and the LTTE impacted heavily on civilian lives both in the north and the south, the spectre of human rights violations once again loomed large with the government called into account by the international community. It was always a given fact that as the conflict intensified the war would be taken by the LTTE to other parts of the country and more..

President invites Ranil for talks

Feb 10 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapakse last week invited Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for a meeting to discuss the implementation of the political solution to the ethnic conflict. The President extended the invitation to Wickremesinghe when the duo met in Parliament on Thursday, February 7 at the portrait unveiling ceremony of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa. more..

All or nothing for the renegades

Feb 10 (SL) Two weeks into campaigning for the local government polls in Batticaloa, the violence is infact down, at least in some parts of the district. A recent fact finding mission by PAFFREL said that violence had recorded a decline since nominations closed on January 25. "There was general agreement that the security situation had improved, particularly with reference to the levels of violence. The opening of shops in the town till past 8 p.m. suggested that the people felt secure enough to move about at night. more..

War and Governance

Feb 10 (AT) These are times which favour the cynics. In his Independence Day Address President Mahinda Rajapakse proved that the APRC was what the cynics said it was: an exercise in deception, an attempt to hoodwink democratic Tamils, India and the International Community. The maximum this President is willing to concede in terms of devolution is the continuation of the status quo – which is a step forward from his earlier plan to replace provincial councils with district councils and more..

Clinton office rejected and returned campaign funds from LTTE supporters

Feb 10 (AT) Leading Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton through her Office in Washington DC announced that they have already rejected the election campaign funds sent by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) proscribed as an arm of the banned LTTE. A New Jersey resident in U S A, allegedly connected to TRO had sent in the funds. This was revealed to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and Bernard Goonatilake, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Washington and also to me. more..

Sri Lanka's poetic speech down the ages

Feb 10 (LBO) The Speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament W J M Lokubandara who launched a book of ancient poetic graffiti from a centuries old rock fortress in Sigiriya says poetry still plays a major role in the island’s political arena. "We are a fascinating nation. We make use of poetry to beg, campaign for elections and even to criticize the budget," Lokubandara told a gathering of politician diplomats and artistes at the launch of his book. more..

JVP’s ‘Heart to Heart’ blabbering

Feb 10 (LG) Valentine’s Day falls on the 14 February 2008. To coincide with the forthcoming lover’s day, two extreme mindsets have decided to have ‘heart to heart’ talks and serialise it in the Asian Tribune web journal. The infamous Asian Tribune editor K T Rajasingam who is known for his reprehensible dealings decided to engage in talks with the leader of the JVP Somawanse Amarasinghe. The interview touched on many issues. more..

Rajapakse’s Lover

Feb 10 (LG) Government of Sri Lanka will be inexorably moving towards their "fight to finish" with the LTTE by the end of this year, according to government politicians and the country’s military officials. They are optimistic about the outcome. In this light, what is next, if the Government is successful in its war against the LTTE? Sadly there is no clear evidence that Rajapakse has plans to bring stability to the country without any uprising again even if he wins the war. more..

Join Hands to help victims of terror says NMAT

Feb 10 (SLW) As you know the evil LTTE terrorism has begun its most barbaric actions of war by killing innocents. By these kinds of cowardly attacks, LTTE terrorist's intention is to make turmoil in the south and unstable and hold the battles conducting in the LTTE's heartland territories by Sri Lankan tri-forces. Being victims of this terrorism for about two decades, we all know that this is going to be the LTTE's last few cowardly attacks as they are more..

Army to Expedite Operations

Feb 10 (SLW) The Sri Lanka Army is demonstrating signs of expediting military operations against the Tigers following LTTE attacks in the south. State Intelligence sources believe a major disruption, the first of its kind, was averted when an LTTE suicide bomber detonated her suicide jacket inside the Fort Railway Station, instead of aiming it at a bus load of Air Force personnel on their way back from the military parade on Independence Day. more..

Dikowita to be largest fisheries harbour in Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (GDI) The largest fishery harbour in Sri Lanka will be built in Dikowita and construction work will commence within three months, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera said. Speaking at a ceremony to distribute 300 crates worth Rs. 3,500 each among the Gampaha District fisher-mongers, the minister said and it is anticipated that the project would be completed by 2009. more..

Batticaloa ready for LG polls – Asst. Commissioner for Elections

Feb 10 (GDI) Arrangements to hold the local government polls in the Batticaloa district after nearly fourteen years are now in order with the political parties contesting the local polls launching their campaigns this week, Assistant Commissioner of Elections, Batticaloa district T. Krishnananthalingam said. A total of 831 candidates from 6 political parties including 22 independent candidates would contest the forthcoming local polls on March 10 more..

Sri Lanka port contract delayed over tender muddle: report

Feb 10 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) is pushing to award a container terminal concession in Colombo to Hutchison Port Holdings despite a technical committee nod for rival Port of Singapore Authority, a news report said Sunday. "The SLPA is determined to award the Colombo South Port Development Project to Hutchison of Hong Kong, going against the recommendations made by the Cabinet-Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) and the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC)," more..

We have to block the road to grave that we are proceeding covered in the lion's flag

Feb 10 (LeN) Sri Lanka Freedom Party - People's Wing Convener Mangala Samaraweera says that there have been enough discussions since 1987 on the ethnic problem and now we need no All Party Conferences but the self-confidence to resolve the problem. He made these comments today (09) afternoon delivering the opening address of the 'Surakimu Sri Lanka' university students' national mobilization held at No: 101, Rosemead Place. more..

Sripathi's death suspicious, says wife Dilrukshi

Feb 10 (LeN) Late MP Sripathi Suriyaarachchi's wife Dilrukshi Suriyaarachchi says that she has suspicion over the sudden death of her husband and an orderly investigation will be requested in writing by this evening. MP Suriyaarachchi's remains were brought to Jayarathna Florists last night and it was taken to his house in Kandana in a motorcade around 12 noon today. Everybody present at the Jayarathna Florists were shocked to see the pathetic scene of the wife more..

Over 200 LTTE bunkers in Sri Lanka`s north

Feb 10 (LNP) While the military has destroyed a considerable number of LTTE bunkers in the north to date, there are nearly 200 LTTE bunkers in all in the northern districts at present. Speaking to The Nation, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that the LTTE has bunkers situated every 10 metres or so in the north and that it changes bunker positions from time to time. So far no bunker has been captured by the security forces, although the forces have destroyed many of them. more..

More foot dragging

Feb 10 (LNP) The public was once again treated to the disgusting spectacle of the continuing foot dragging on the long overdue appointment of the Constitutional Council when Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament last week that there was a problem over the widely acclaimed nomination of former Auditor General S.C. Mayadunne. According to the Chief Government Whip and President Rajapaksa's troubleshooter in Parliament, the nominee was currently employed by Parliament as a consultant to a UNDP funded more..

Royal - Thomian face interruption scar

Feb 10 (LNP) Number of Big Matches including the historic Battle of the Blues, which was not interrupted even during fierce World War I and II, are likely to face an interruption scar this year in the face of heightening security situation in Colombo. With the Education Ministry advising school officials to control students from going out of schools for sports events due to the prevailing security situation, the Inter School First-XI cricket matches came to a halt and more..

Tight security cordon for schools

Feb 10 (SAMN) Government Saturday imposed a ban on the public attending school functions with immediate effect. Education Ministry Secretary M.M.N.D. Bandara said the move was part of a series of additional security measures put in place in view of the current turmoil. Schools will be permitted to hold functions within school premises, but they will not be allowed to invite the general public, he said. more..

Tiger-al Qaeda business link?

Feb 10 (SAMN) The LTTE’s possible commercial link with al- Qaeda, the organisation held responsible for the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington over six years ago, is highlighted once again by a prestigious London-based think tank. In its latest publication “Military Balance 2008” released last week the IISS not only repeats what it said three years ago about the LTTE’s al-Qaeda link but also accuses it of breaking last year the 2002 cease-fire. more..

JHU wants special ID for Tamils

Feb 10 (SAMN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Saturday urged the government to issue an identity card for all Tamils living in Sri Lanka which would distinguish them from the LTTE cadres. JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinha said the party has decided to ask the government to issue a special identity card to identify the Tamils living in Sri Lanka. The party is also planning to make a proposal on the matter in Parliament. more..

Weerawila hits environmental snag

Feb 10 (SAMN) The construction of the Weerawila International Airport suffered yet another setback when the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) appointed by the Central Environment Authority (CEA) requested the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to conduct further research and include additional information to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. “The TEC met on February 7 to evaluate the EIA, especially the public comments, and the members thought that the EIA was grossly inadequate. more..

Security plan to thwart terrorist attacks

Feb 10 (SO) Several Civil Committees have been set up in bus stands, railway stations and housing complexes to protect people and property in Colombo. The committees have been set up with the help of the Community Police Unit. Over 25,000 persons have been enlisted to keep an eye on terrorist activities, DIG Colombo Range, Nimal Mediweka told a media briefing. The committees which will be on 24-hour duty have been briefed by us on how to act when they come across a suspicious looking parcel or person. more..

Need to cultivate land stressed

Feb 10 (SO) The neglected bareland or uncultivated land can be given to people who are willing to cultivate, Minister of Plantation Industries, D. M. Jayaratne told a media briefing at the Galle Face Hotel. He said that under the Agrarian Development Act 2000 which he presented the Government has the power to give land to people who are willing to cultivate. He said that two blocks of land in Udapalata and Doluwa in his electorate have been gazetted for the purpose. more..

Move to promote exports of developing countries

Feb 10 (SO) The European Union (EU) is expected to revise the Rules of Origin pertaining to exports of developing countries by January next year. The revision of the Rules of Origin will be done along with the renewal of the GSP Plus concessions granted to Sri Lanka. Senior sources of the Department of Commerce said that the EU has accepted in principal that the prevailing Rules of Origin are an impediment to promote exports of developing countries. more..

UN works in North within a framework given by LTTE - Neil Buhne

Feb 10 (SO) The United Nations and some of its agencies like UNICEF were in hot water with their alleged 'secret deals' with the LTTE terrorists. Some political parties accused them directly for helping the terrorist outfit which is now facing a severe defeat due to on-going military attacks in Wanni. The UN is also blamed for interfering with the internal matters of the country. Terming these allegations against the UN as 'ridiculous', more..

Ex forces top brass guilty

Feb 10 (LB) The Presidential Commiss-ion which investigated the procurement of arms for the Sri Lankan armed forces during the period of 2000 to 2005 has ruled that allegations against the ex commanders of the Sri Lankan Army, Navy, Air Force and several other senior officers have been established, LAKBIMAnEWS learnt. “Tender procedures had not been followed, apparently no tenders had been called at all in certain incidents,” a well placed Commission source said. more..

Loud bombs and tone deafness

Feb 10 (LB) Last week the government parliamentary group witnessed the slavish spectacle of everybody and every junior MP telling the President that his speech on Independence Day was a masterpiece. No doubt the speech was a good one under the circumstances — but when a junior MP compared the President to Churchill, everyone knew they were laying it on thick. The President offered to raise his collar too in the process. more..

Unions request President to save CPC

Feb 10 (NS) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s Joint Union Alliance has sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, making an appeal to him to save the institution from near shutdown. In the letter addressed to the President, the union had requested the President not to extend the leasing period of the Lubricant Refinery, which is under Caltex Lanka Ltd. If the CPC is given back the refinery once the lease period ends, it would enable the corporation to improve its gross revenue. more..

Loosening the claws of the Tiger!

Feb 10 (NS) There was a sense of déjŕ vu when Sri Lanka celebrated its diamond jubilee of independence last week: the threat of attacks from the LTTE was looming large. It was so ten years ago when the country celebrated its golden jubilee of independence as well, with the Tiger terrorists having bombed the Dalada Maligawa a few days earlier. The Tigers and the government may still be at war but with several regime changes in Colombo, a ceasefire and a decade later the odds are stacked differently. more..

Indiscriminate violence, constitutional process stifled, ICES Rama removed!

Feb 10 (NS) As Sri Lanka celebrated its diamond jubilee of independence last week the separatist LTTE unleashed a cycle of violence in which at least fifty people were killed and an equal number maimed. The ruthless LTTE also killed seven school children in their terror campaign perpetrated against the civilian population in the South, aimed at diverting the government’s attention from the Northern war theatre. more..

President to resolve feud between Peradeniya doctors and nurses

Feb 10 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) that he will personally look into the feud between the doctors and nurses at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital and find a solution to the problem soon. GMOA Secretary Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya told The Nation that the President had also assured them that he would take all steps to put an end to interference by Minister Nimal Siripala De in the health sector where his involvement is not necessary. more..

Members of a religious order caught in a Tiger ring

Feb 10 (Island) Last week's arrest of an LTTE operative at Mabole, Wattala tasked with supplying suicide jackets, explosives and small arms and ammunition to undercover LTTE operatives in the city and its suburbs has revealed a hitherto unknown link between the group and a religious order. According to investigators, a few members of the order, some of them priests, had helped the LTTE to smuggle in armaments over a long period of time. more..

JVP shut out of CPI(M) Congress in Coimbatore

Feb 10 (Island) The JVP will be a notable absentee at the CPI(M) (Communist Party of India – Marxist) 19th party congress to be held in Coimbatore in March, an event it has been present at since the 1970s, a report in India’s Financial Express said. This report attributed the non-invitation of the JVP as an attempt "to please the DMK in Tamil Nadu." The JVP’s leadership in Colombo has confirmed that the party had not been invited this time for the CPI(M) conference. more..

Motor show in Tissamaharama despite growing terrorist threat

Feb 10 (Island) Despite the growing threat posed by the LTTE, the government has given the go ahead for a mega 'motor show' in the Tissamaharama electorate in the Rajapaksa stronghold Hambantota. The three-day Carlton Supercross organised by Tharunyata Hetak, an organisation headed by Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of the President, would get underway on February 15 under heavy security. more..

How economics looks at politics and politicians

Feb 10 (Island) Many say we need a change in political culture. What they mean is that our politicians should act in the public and national interest rather than in their selfish personal or political interest; that they should not make politics a mere means of enriching themselves - and that at the expense of the public interest. What do economists have to say about this view? They have developed the ‘theory of public choice’ to explain the behavior of the politicians. more..