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Ugly politics comes into the open

Feb 10 (ST) The lull in what has been one long political storm was shattered last afternoon with the news that Sripathy Sooriyarachchi, the Member of Parliament who broke away with former Cabinet Minister Mangala Samaraweera just a little more than a year ago, had been killed in a nasty car crash somewhere in the North Central Province. An ex-Naval officer who became a SLFP MP, and staunch loyalist to Samaraweera, then a powerful figure in the ruling party, Sooriyarachchi was a troubled man these last days. more..

Cross connection for top post

Feb 10 (ST) On the heels of the sudden Government decision to wind up by the end of the month, the National Procurement Agency, which was set up to tackle corruption in Government tender procedures, came the sudden decision this week by the Presidential Secretariat to call for the resignation of Land Reform Commission Chairman Lakshman Hirimuthugoda. Shortly after Mr. Hirimuthgoda tendered his immediate resignation on Thursday; the LRC staff sent a signed petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa asking him to reinstate Mr. Hirimuthugoda’s services. more..

Laws coming to impose new taxes

Feb 10 (ST) Legislation to give effect to several new taxes is set to be approved by Parliament the following week in keeping with the Government’s Budget proposals for this year. They include the Environment Conservation Levy, a levy on cordless land telephones as well as a new tax on motor vehicles imported into the country. The Bills were presented to Parliament last week and are to be taken up for debate when the House meets again next week. more..

Garbage dumpers beware!

Feb 10 (ST) The Environment Ministry is planning to introduce new regulations which would enable it to increase the amount of fines and to take legal actions against persons who dump garbage on bare lands which are not being used and on the roadside. “Imposing fines is one way to control people dumping garbage everywhere. We are hoping to get the Municipal Councils and the Pradeshiya Sabhas to monitor and fine the persons who dump garbage. more..

Sri Lanka has highest inflation in South, Southeast Asia

Feb 10 (IANS) The inflation rate in Sri Lanka has been reaching dizzying heights lately. It was 21.6 percent on an average in 2007. In November it touched an all-time high of 26.2 percent. Sri Lanka also has the highest rate of inflation in South and Southeast Asia, points out Harsha de Silva, chief economist of LIRNE Asia, a regional development economics think tank. 'At the end of the last quarter, inflation in Indonesia was seven percent; more..

Govt bars public from school functions

Feb 10 (IANS) Sri Lanka has banned the participation of the public in school functions in view of the current threat to school children from terrorists. The move, announced by the secretary to the department of education M.M.N.D. Bandara Saturday, followed a series of bomb blasts on the island in which many school-going children were killed, The Sunday Times reported. Bandara said the measure was meant to prevent unknown persons from entering schools with bombs. more..

Clash leaves university students hospitalized

Feb 10 (Xinhua) At least 31 students were admitted to a hospital after over 40 students were injured in a clash between student factions in the Kelaniya University just outside the capital Colombo, police said Sunday. Police spokesman N. K. Ilangakoon said the police were called to quell the clash in the early hours of Sunday. "A few buildings in the university compound had their glasses damaged in the clashes," Ilangakoon said, more..

Sri Lanka says fighting in north kills 46

Feb 10 (Reuters) Forty Tamil Tigers and six soldiers have been killed in a series of battles along the "border" that separates state from rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Sunday. Fighting in the latest phase of a 25-year civil war has intensified since the government scrapped a six-year-old ceasefire pact last month. It said the rebels were using the truce to re-arm. more..

Sri Lanka army chief vows to defeat Tiger rebels

Feb 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's army chief has renewed a vow to defeat Tamil rebels, but refused to set a deadline for ending the decades-old conflict, saying the separatists remain a potent force, a report said Sunday. Army general Sarath Fonseka said in an interview with the Lakbima weekly Sinhalese newspaper that a military campaign to capture the rebel-held Wanni region in the north begun in March last year was proceeding according to plan. more..

Fisherman killed in firing by Sri Lankan Navy

Feb 11 (PTI) A Tamil Nadu fisherman was killed when Sri Lankan Navy fired at his boat at Palk Strait, fisheries department officials said on Sunday. Thirty-five-year-old Thangapandi from Jegadapattinam in Pudukottai district had gone to the sea off Dhanushkodi coast for fishing with two other fishermen, Idumban and Babu. As they neared the maritime border on Saturday night, Sri Lankan Naval personnel fired at the boat, while asking them to go back, officials quoting the other two fishermen said. more..

Loyola College alumni converge in Colombo

Feb 11 (PTI) It was a nostalgic moment for the alumni of the renowned 83-year old Loyola College of Chennai as they converged on the salubrious climes of Sri Lanka here to remember their "good old days" at the Indian institution. "I was the union president of the Loyala college over 35 years ago and India has come a long way in becoming an emerging super economic power," Sri Lanka media baron Kumar Nadesan told the gathering. more..

“The Tiruchelvam I Knew”

Feb 11 (TC) On the occasion of the launch of “Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy” Selected Speeches of and Tributes to Senator Tiruchelvam Q.C., Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, 1st February 2008: The year was 1973. I had moved into my residence at Barnes Place. Soon thereafter my father visited me, and as is usual, he commenced his peregrinations in Colombo, visiting his old friends and their visits in return. One day, he came and announced, “There, Tiruchelvam wants to meet you”. more..

Sri Lanka in tourism tie-up with Al Jazeera

Feb 11 (GT) THE Sri Lankan ministry of tourism has tied up with Al Jazeera Arabic channel to improve the global perception of the country's internal security and also promote and boost its tourism sector. Addressing a stakeholders' meeting comprising tourism experts and airline operators yesterday, Sri Lankan deputy minister of tourism Faiszer Musthapha said there is a need to be more aggressive in promoting the country's image, which has been hit by disturbances in parts of the country. more..

Eight days left to save lives of three migrant workers - two Sri Lankans and an Indian, sentenced to be beheaded

Feb 11 (AT) Lives of three migrant workers, two Sri Lankan and an Indian, hanging on a thin thread, as their final date for appealing against their death sentence imposed by a High Court in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, expires in another 8 days – on the 19 February. A Sri Lankan mother, Halemma Nissa Cader, K.M.S. Bandaranaike and Naushad, an Indian national, were found guilty and condemned to death by the High Court of Jeddah on charges of armed robbery and murder of an old woman in Jeddah. more..

Navy Sailor Defuse a bomb at Anuradhapura Public Fair; Another Terror Plan Averted

Feb 11 (AT) A naval sailor who was on leave while marketing in the Anuradhapura public fair defused a bomb weighing around 1.5 Kg which was fixed to an oil can toady (10) around 11.30 am. Reports reaching from Anuradhapura stated that a "timer" too had been fixed to the bomb at the time of recovery. The oil can has been kept in a bag and on suspicions of the consignment, people at the fair have alerted. more..

An Elegy: Anandasangaree laments over the demise of Tamil Nadu veteran politician. K. Rajaram

Feb 11 (AT) A Former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly and Minister in Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam K. Rajaram, died in Salem on Friday 08 February. He was 82. Septuagenarian Rajaram was born in 1926 in Dharmapuri, then in Salem district. While he was a student in Salem Municipal College, he was drawn towards Dravida Kazhaga leader and founder E.V.Ramasamy’s ’s ideology and toured various countries along with him. more..

Postmodernism As A Simulacrum

Feb 11 (LG) Jean Baudrillard is a founding father of postmodernism. Together with Jean-Francois Lyotard he has created the postmodern world. While Derrida, Lacan, Foucault and the others could be considered as poststructuralists, Baudrillard and Lyotard have to be considered as the theorists of postmodernism. Jameson who is of the view that the postmodernist era is the third stage of capitalism is generally considered a neo Marxist postmodernist, though many Marxists would have nothing to do with "bourgeois" theories of postmodernism. more..

Constitutional convulsions!

Feb 11 (LG) That the Constitution of a country is the Supreme Law of the country is not in dispute. Sri Lanka’s Constitution declares it to be so. People, quite rightly, get very agitated about what they see as a violation of the provisions of the Constitution. Agitation are often stage-managed for political reasons. At times, dubious interpretations are given to create impressions of violations, depending on which side of the political divide one is. more..

60th Independence Day Celebrated for the first time at the University of Oxford

Feb 11 (SLW) Although there are numerous societies at the University of Oxford representing their countries, a society for Sri Lanka had not existed. The small Sri Lankan community at the University had been scattered and a forum to promote Sri Lanka was not available. This long-standing need was fulfilled late last year with the founding of the Sri Lanka Society at the University of Oxford by Arosha Gunasekera who was a former student of Royal College and more..

Regaining Sovereignty is the Option for Tamil People

Feb 11 (SLW) 60 years of post-British colonial rule in Sri Lanka proves that two free nations – not an oppressive state and an oppressed people - can live in peace. Sixty years ago, was the day the last European colonial ruler left the Island of Sri Lanka and handed over state power to the alien Sinhala ruler. This is the day that symbolizes the Tamil nation’ s loss of sovereignty to its new rulers - the alien Sinhala state. more..

LTTE stations a MBRL in Weli Oya to stop the 59th division

Feb 11 (SLW) About two months ago, we revealed about the possibility of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) opening another major front in the Wanni operation through the Weli Oya (Manal Aru in Eelam terminology) sector. As predicted, the front lines of Weli-Oya have been heating up due to the sporadic clashes for the past few weeks. The LTTE are offering fierce resistance to advancing troops of the 59th division, who are equal to the task. more..

Sri Lanka garments could shine with eco-friendly manufacture: Marks & Spencer

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka can gain a marketing edge by making garments in a more environmentally friendly manner, an official from Britain’s Marks and Spencer (M&S) department store said. "The good thing about doing business responsibly is that, a responsible business can still be a profitable business," says Neil Hacket the country manager for Marks and Spencer in Sri Lanka. Marks and Spencer has over 600 outlets within the UK and 240 outside. more..

Bomb scare disrupts train service in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (Xinhua) Train services from Colombo to the Central Provincial town of Badulla were disrupted Sunday following a bomb scare along the railway track, officials said Sunday. P. H. Silva, the assistant general manager of Sri Lanka Railways said the rail track between the hill country towns of Hatton and Nuwara Eliya was put under a security check following information of a bomb was placed on the track. more..

Karunanidhi urges Centre to save fishermen from Lankan navy

Feb 11 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Sunday wrote to the central government urging it to negotiate with neighbouring Sri Lanka on behalf of Indian fishermen. Drawing the union government's attention to the 'indiscriminate' firing by the Sri Lankan Navy that killed one Indian fisherman Saturday, the chief minister has asked the government 'to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan government,' a press statement here said. more..

Kudos to wider Tamil identity

Feb 11 (TN) The decision of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which enabled Razeen Mohamed Imam becoming a national list member of the Sri Lanka parliament last Wednesday, is received with wide appreciation from different sections of the Tamil-speaking people, including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. The 60-years-old lawyer Mr. Razeen Mohamed hails from Jaffna and is a member of the Ilankai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (the Federal Party started by the late S.J.V Chelvanayakam) for more than 30 years. more..

“Lanka Rathna” will be conferred on Maldivian President Gayoom

Feb 11 (LG) The Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom accompanied by first lady Nasreena Gayoom, and a delegation of senior Ministers and officials is scheduled to make a State visit to Sri Lanka from 12th to 13th February, 2008, at the invitation of the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to a official statement released by the foreign ministry in Colombo. more..

Exclude and rule: Trust goes missing in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (LG) In about a year, the duration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime after the November 2005 election victory, Sri Lanka has hardened its attitude towards the Tamils. Even some liberal Sinhalese concede that this has happened. But they tend to blame the LTTE for the hardening of attitude. The fact is that the Sinhalese who constitute more than 70 per cent of the 19 million population of Sri Lanka, are not willing to share power with the Tamils because they do not trust them. more..

What it could have been, if not for the conflict

Feb 11 (LG) The question has often been asked as to where Sri Lanka would have been or looked like had we settled our so-called ethnic problem years ago. Let us examine the first effort: it took the form of a Pact between Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and the chief of the Federal party, Mr. SJV Chelvanayagam and was referred to as the B-C Pact. It was signed on the 26th of July 1957. more..

Fate decides for Sri Lanka with broken resolutions

Feb 11 (SLW) Fate is sometimes too cruel. At least with Sripathy Sooriyarachchi it was. He crashed into a huge “Maara” tree last Saturday, 09th February, exactly a year after he crashed down from his ministerial portfolio, sacked by President Rajapaksa. In between, he was forced into remand prison and then hurled to courts for alleged conspiracy for and aiding a murder of a youth. All attempts at stifling his ever boisterous personality in dissenting politics. more..

Late President Premadasa fought two wars against LTTE and JVP terrorists

Feb 11 (SLW) Gayantha Karunatilake, UNP M.P. addressing the Media at the UNP Media Unit today (5 Feb) referred to the bloodbath the country was plunged into by the Rajapakse Govt. Independence day celebrations yesterday (4Feb). While stating that the very purpose of independence was marred by the unnecessary loss of lives of innocent civilians and soldiers owing to the Govt.’s mishandling of the war whereby what disasters confined to the North has now been dragged to the whole of Sri Lanka. more..

Until the Guns are silent

Feb 11 (SLW) Dear Friends, I set out to Jaffna last week hoping to report on the situation there. I got back yesterday but am still unable to put down anything on paper as I don't know where to start. Do I start with the little boy I met who saved his baby brother's life by scooping his intestines back into his torn belly and holding him till he was given medical attention? Or do I start with the little girl who saw a man on his knees begging for his life before having his brains blown out on the road in the middle of the morning? more..

Widespread thieving and fooling around with the Constitutional Council

Feb 11 (AHRC) From all around Sri Lanka there are constant reports of widespread thieving in the country, particularly around suburban town centres. This has gone so far as to affect even the dressing habits of women traveling in buses or three-wheelers. Although it has been customary among women to wear gold chains or other valuables, now on a large scale this habit is changing due to the widespread snatching of such items while commuting. more..

Sri Lanka exporters urged to focus on food safety, product liability issues

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters should secure their shipments not only because of security but because product liability and food safety are growing concerns in western markets, a container security expert says. New global container security initiatives, which emerged as a response to terrorist threats, are now not only limited to security, according to Stefaan Vermeire, Director General of the International Container Security Organization based in Brussels. more..

Sri Lanka to see Cathay flights from March

Feb 11 (LBO) Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways will resume daily flights to Sri Lanka from March, after security was tightened at the island's international airport, the airline said Monday. The airline stopped flying to Colombo's Katunayake airport after Tamil Tiger guerrillas raided a nearby military base using modified aircraft last April. "The airline did a thorough audit before making the decision to resume flights and more..

Mervyn threatens against mourning Sripathi’s death

Feb 11 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva and his henchmen have forcibly removed the white flags and condolence banners that had been on display in the Kiribathgoda town to mourn the death of parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi. Silva had also threatened to kill anyone found to be openly displaying their sorrow over the MP’s passing. Shops and roadsides in Kiribathgoda town, its surrounding areas as well as the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha premises had been adorned with white flags to mourn the death of the former SLFP organizer for Kelaniya. more..

Reggie to fill Sripathi’s vacant seat

Feb 11 (LD) Reggie Ranatunga will fill the parliamentary seat that fell vacant by the death of parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, reports say. Ranatunga, contesting on the UPFA ticket, polled 54,414 preferential votes from the Gampaha District at the 2004 General Elections. Reggie Ranatunga is presently the governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province. Sooriyarachchi died in a road accident in Thambuttegama on Feb. 09th.

Colombo schools reopened

Feb 11 (LD) After a week-long closure, all schools in the Colombo Education Zone were opened today (Feb. 11th). Amid security concerns following the bomb blast at the Fort Railway Station, the Education Ministry closed all schools in Colombo from Feb. 05th to Feb. 11th. When schools reopened today, as a heightened security measure, school children were assigned to check the bags of their schoolmates before they entered the school premises. more..

Latest mobile phone jamming devices for Parliament

Feb 11 (LD) Parliament is reportedly planning to install latest jamming devices to prevent the use of mobile phones within the Chamber, after a call by the Speaker went unheeded. The measure follows the revelation that certain members use phones that can withstand two jamming equipment already mounted in the premises, parliament sources say. During a recent debate on rice prices, a key government member had used his mobile phone to get in touch with an outsider. more..

Another man shot dead in Kotahena

Feb 11 (LD) An unidentified person has been gunned down near the Galapotha roundabout, Kotahena in the early hours of today (Feb. 11th). Police say that a gang in a white-coloured van was behind the crime. This is the second murder committed in the area during the past few days. Earlier, a Tamil businessman was killed and his wife was injured after being shot by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle near St. Lucia’s Cathedral in Kotahena on Feb. 08th. more..

Sripathi’s funeral on Wednesday

Feb 11 (LD) Former minister and parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi had been returning from Anuradhapura where he had sought information on a case against him, when he met with a fatal road accident at Thambuttegama on Feb. 09th, reports say. The relevant case, pertaining to a charge of manslaughter, is pending against him at the Polonnaruwa Magistrate’s Court. His driver Priyantha Samarasinghe, one of his bodyguards M. Gunaratne and close friend S.K.R. Silva, Executive Director of Isura FM Radio, also died in the incident. more..

Wayamba University students take legal action against police

Feb 11 (LT) The students of Wayamba University are preparing to take legal action against Kuliyapitiya police for attacking students inside university premises recently. Talking to ‘Lankatruth’ Mr. Udul Premaratna, convener of Inter Universities Students’ Union, said the police entering the university premises without any permission from the vice-chancellor and attacking students in the premises is a violation of fundamental rights of students. more..

'Play school matches on matting wickets'

Feb 11 (CI) Blaming the mediocre standard of batsmen in school cricket today partly to the preparation of substandard pitches, Aravinda de Silva, the former Sri Lanka batsman, is of the opinion that playing school matches on matting surfaces than on turf pitches would improve the quality of batting significantly. Being appointed consultant coach to the Sri Lanka under-19 World Cup team enabled de Silva, who retired from international cricket five years ago, to make a close study of the declining standards of school cricket in Sri Lanka and this is what he observed. more..

India look to build on psychological edge

Feb 11 (CI) India, at the halfway mark of their CB Series campaign, have the edge over Sri Lanka, whom they meet at the Manuka Oval on Tuesday. India completed a strong victory against Australia at the MCG, while Sri Lanka suffered a 128-run defeat to the same opponents last week. The game assumes significance for Sri Lanka, six points behind leaders India in the points table though with a game in hand, who have yet to catch fire in the tournament - their previous match against India was washed out after India's innings. more..

Maldivian President arrives here tomorrow (12)

Feb 11 (GDI) The President of Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and first lady Nasreena M. A. Gayoom will arrive in the island on two-day official visit tomorrow (12), on an invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following his visit to the Republic of Maldives in 2006, a press release issued by the President’s media unit said. President Gayoom will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Shahid and several high ranking officials of the Maldivian Government. more..

Terrorists exploiting holy Madu 'No Fire Zone' to attack troops

Feb 11 (GDI) Defence sources said that the LTTE terrorists are taking cover of the holy Madu shrine area which has been declared a 'No Fire Zone' to launch attacks, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. The Brigadier said that the LTTE resorted to this tactic on Saturday (09) afternoon directing 81 mm mortar fire towards the troops in the Mannar sector taking cover of the Madu shrine area at 4.47 p.m. and 4.49 p.m. more..

Government Servant Housing Complex to open today

Feb 11 (GDI) A housing complex put up by the Housing Development Authority is to be inaugurated today (11) at Homagama by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake. This complex which has been put up at a cost of Rs 89 bn consists of 400 houses. The Korean Government has assisted with a sum of Rs330mn while the balance has been met with State funds. The Complex has units in three categories extending from 400-1000 sq ft. with all amenities. more..

Sri Lanka Army now 150,000 strong. recruits more readies for big battles on the Vanni front

Feb 11 (LNP) The army is being further strengthened with more men as the combined security forces campaign on the Vanni fronts enters a decisive stage with ground troops making significant progress. Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka on Saturday visited the area for a first hand assessment as troops on the Mannar front increased pressure on Adampan, an LTTE stronghold situated close to Yoda Wewa. more..

Lankan child racket busted in Singapore

Feb 11 (SAMN) A Malaysian woman and her two grown up children were charged in Singapore trying to send three Sri Lankan children to London, the Singapore Strait Times said. The three were arrested on Thursday evening at Changi Airport after a security officer suspected the children's identities did not match the Malaysian passports they held. The children, each about 11-years old, were about to board a plane for London with the suspects, according to the charges filed. more..

Special team to probe Sripathi crash

Feb 11 (SAMN) The North Western Range Deputy Inspector General of Police Jayantha Jayasinghe has deployed a special police team headed by Maho ASP Siriwardena to investigate into the jeep accident in which former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi and four others were killed Saturday. The jeep in which Sooriyarachchi and several others were travelling went off the main road and crashed onto a massive tree in Thambuttegama, Anuradhapura. more..

1000 nurses to be sent to California

Feb 11 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is to sends 1000 nurses annually to California under an agreement signed between Sri Lanka and the State of California, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition said Sunday. He was speaking to a team of nursing students from Washington D.C. in the US who visited Sri Lanka to study nurses’ training. The North West University in Washington D.C which the Nurses’ Training school is affiliated to has chosen Sri Lanka as a model for nurses’ training as more..