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Stricter controls on Colombo eateries

Feb 11 (SAMN) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has taken measures to make it compulsory for all eating houses to include at least one trained food handler in order to obtain a licence to open a food stall or hotel. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam told The Nation that as of last year, a grading system was introduced by the CMC for eating houses in Colombo and places that were inspected included all the eateries in Colombo, ranging from small food kiosks to star class hotels. more..

Seizure of assets of those with terror links - PM

Feb 11 (DN) Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka asserts that the Government will in future take steps to implement the existing legal provisions, to confiscate all assets of those aiding and abetting terrorism directly or indirectly. The Prime Minister said this in response to a question asked by the Mahanayaka Thera of the Malwatte Chapter, the Most Venerable Thibbottuwe Sri Siddartha Sumangala Thera on Saturday when he visited the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, to seek the blessings from the prelate. more..

National Centre for English Education opens

Feb 11 (DN) The Peradeniya English Teachers' College, declared as a National Centre for English Education was inaugurated by Education Minister Susil Premajayantha recently. Minister Premajayantha said the new centre was established to promote English teaching in the country and it will become a centre for excellence providing guidance, resources and instruction for learners and teachers of English. more..

PSC to take up ICES issue

Feb 11 (Island) The Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs plans to summon persons embroiled in the ongoing controversy at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), a major recipient of overseas funding. Vijitha Herath, Chairman of the Select Committee yesterday said that the ICES would be investigated thoroughly. A comprehensive inquiry was needed in view of the charges and counter charges centred around allegations that the NGO was promoting foreign intervention, more..

US Lawmakers with ties to LTTE money

Feb 11 (Island) The US Treasury Department’s recent clampdown on the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) accusing it of raising funds on behalf of a designated terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), throws the spotlight once again on the shadowy ‘LTTE lobby’ whose access to powerful US lawmakers helped to legitimize this and other Tiger fronts allowing them to operate with no road bumps for almost a decade. more..

I want Prabhakaran alive: President

Feb 11 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says he wants LTTE leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran captured alive to face charges of crimes committed by him including the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi who was killed by a suicide bomber during an election rally in India. In an interview with the India Today, Managing Editor, Raj Chengappa, President Rajapaksa also reiterated he would negotiate with the LTTE only if they laid down arms and warned that if not, more..

Grade I concession for two children in each school

Feb 11 (DM) The Education Ministry has been empowered to decide the admission of two children under ‘transfer category’ to each Grade One classroom according to the new Supreme Court guidelines for the resolution of the problems that arose in the admission process for 2008. Ministry Secretary, Nimal Bandara told the yesterday there were children of public servants and members of the security forces, to be admitted necessarily to Grade One classes under the transfer category every year. more..

India To Help Sri Lanka Upgrade Skills

Feb 11 (NPI) Sri Lanka Monday accepted India's offer to help its people upgrade their technical and managerial skills so that the island's economic growth and export potential are not retarded by a shortage of trained manpower. Minister for Enterprise Development Sarath Amunugama accepted the offer by Indian Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh at a meeting here. Sri Lankan officials, entrepreneurs and educationists, would meet representatives of Indian private and more..

Sri Lanka: Conflict claims child victims

Feb 11 (IRC) Camp for displaced people in Batticaloa. Many arrived in the camps physically and mentally exhausted, having fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. Their needs include temporary shelter, food, water, sanitation facilities. On Sunday 3rd February six school boys were killed in a bomb blast as they got off a train at a station in Sri Lanka's main city, Colombo. They were returning with their coach, who also died, from a sports match in another district. more..

Look Beyond the LTTE

Feb 11 (TOI) Sri Lanka is at the crossroads. The Mahinda Rajapakse administration has officially called off the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE and seems convinced that a peacefully negotiated settlement to the three-decade-old ethnic strife is impossible. Since the ceasefire was annulled a month ago, over 300 people have been killed in battle and in bomb attacks and blasts. Colombo has pressed the armed forces to take the battle into the heart of LTTE-controlled territory whereas the Tigers have resorted to targeted attacks in public places and utilities. more..

India proposes to invest USD 2 bn in Sri Lanka: Ramesh

Feb 11 (PTI) India is committed to a closer economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, visiting minister Jairam Ramesh said on Monday, while revealing that investments of 2 billion dollars from business houses in his country into the Island Nation are at a discussion stage. "While 220 million dollars worth of Indian investment is already there in Sri Lanka and as much as 2 billion dollars of investments by Indian business houses into the Island country are under discussions," more..

A former Tamil militant, now a sustainability guru

Feb 11 (IANS) One of the oldest associates of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is visiting India after two long decades in a new avatar - sustainability guru. A.R. Arular is headed to Chennai to open the India office of his Britain-based Global Sustainability Initiative (GSI), after attending an international meet here, where he spoke about the many inventions he says he has to his credit. more..

Lankan politician's daughter marries Indian businessman's son

Feb 11 (PTI) Amidst heavy security, the daughter of Sri Lankan politician Vardaraja Perumal today tied the knots with the son of a local businessmen here, climaxing a long-running love affair. The bride Kanakamma, who had studied from class six to class 12 in Sophia Girls' Senior Secondary school here, fell in love with Manoj Agrawal, son of a local businessman and their marriage was conducted with Hindu rituals. more..

Sri Lanka says two policemen killed by roadside bomb

Feb 11 (Reuters) Two policemen were killed by a suspected Tamil Tiger roadside bomb in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, while the death toll from weekend fighting rose to 75 rebels and seven soldiers, the military said. Fighting between the military and LTTE in the north and northwest has intensified since the government scrapped a six-year ceasefire pact last month. It said the rebels were using the truce to re-arm. more..

US warns nationals against taking buses, trains in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (IANS) The US State Department has 'strongly' advised Americans not to travel by buses or trains in Sri Lanka in view of a series of terrorist strikes at the public transport system in the island in recent weeks. 'In light of attacks against civilian buses and trains, American citizens are strongly advised against travelling by bus or train in Sri Lanka. US government personnel are currently prohibited from these modes of transportation,' more..

Lanka leader wants India to help defeat LTTE

Feb 11 (EI) A leading Tamil leader of Sri Lanka has urged India to intervene and help the island nation to defeat LTTE chief V Prabhakaran "who will never agree" for any solution to the ethnic problem. "Prabhakaran will never agree for anything and not a single country in the world will support his demand for a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka," V Anandasangaree, former MP and President of TULF told newsmen in London on Sunday. more..

Thousands celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lanka, in spite of the bombs

Feb 12 (AN) In spite of the fear of bombing attacks in crowded places, yesterday thousands of faithful Marian devotees came from all of the country to Tewatta, to celebrate the feast at the national basilica of Our Lady of Lanka. Ramond Fernando, a father of five children who came from the northwestern diocese of Chilaw, tells AsiaNews of the widespread "horrible fears of bombs. Travelling is uncertain with the fear of explosions". more..

Sri Lanka Cricket set for productive 2008

Feb 12 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) may be cash-strapped at the moment but there are riches lying ahead of them during the rest of the year with a whopping US$ 17 million expected from international commitments at home and abroad. Arjuna Ranatunga, the SLC chairman, recently revealed that the board's coffers were empty and that it was surviving on bank borrowings. Ranatunga had also appealed to the Indian board to help alleviate the financial mess and it appears some revenue has been projected by way of an Indian visit from July 12 to September 2. more..

Batting is key for Sri Lanka U-19s - de Silva

Feb 12 (CI) Aravinda de Silva, the former Sri Lanka batsman, has said that the Sri Lanka Under-19 team could be a threat to the other countries if they batted well in the U-19 World Cup which begins in Malaysia on February 17. However, he feels that the squad lacks "a lot of fitness for this sort of age group". Although de Silva will not travel to Malaysia due to private commitments, he has been working with the U-19 squad since January with the aim on improving the batting which, according to the coach Roger Wijesuriya, was Sri Lanka's "main worry". more..

SC terminates hearing into Hakeem’s FR petition

Feb 12 (LD) The Supreme Court has terminated the hearing into the fundamental rights petition filed by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauff Hakeem against the slashing of his security. When the case came up today (Feb. 11th), Legal Director at the Police Headquarters, Senior SP Gamini Dissanayake informed the court that as agreed by the Defence Secretary, Hakeem has already been provided with eight bodyguards and two backup vehicles. more..

The moderate position on Eelam

Feb 12 (LG) This is the moderate position on Eelam: Eelam is your right. It is not a gift, not an act of charity but something that is already yours. As with all things, you can claim it or lose it. Others can try to take it away from you but that would constitute an assault, a theft. When the founding fathers of America made the case for their nation, they did not rely on a cultural identity that had evolved over thousands of years. They did not rely on a common language, let alone a few thousand years of a shared literary heritage. more..

Flexibility and equity strengthen Sri Lanka - India FTA

Feb 12 (LG) The Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Prof. G L Peiris, commenting on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and India added that it consists of the flexibilities and equity underpinning its provisions, which have been reflected clearly in the implementation of the Agreement. Minister Peiris, further expounded the economic benefits of the FTA to both the countries at a Special Session on Trade and Trade related issues at the Partnership Summit 2008, more..

SL Navy Denies alleged Killing of Indian Fisherman

Feb 12 (LG) "Sri Lanka Navy categorically and unequivocally denies the allegations made by certain indiscriminate sections of media of Sri Lanka Navy’s involvement in the killing of an Indian fisherman on Saturday night," Sri Lanka Navy said in a official statement. Sri Lanka Navy exercises utmost care not to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line between Sri Lankan and Indian territorial waters while conducting patrolling and more..

Mosques told to obey ruling

Feb 12 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has ordered Muslim religious leaders to obey a previous ruling on noise reduction. All Sri Lankan Jammiyathul Ulama Association (ASJUA) was advised by the court not to exceed 15 minutes allowed per day to use loudspeakers for religious purposes. The Supreme Court banned using loudspeakers from 10pm to 6am, in November last year. The interim measure was ordered as an attempt to reduce noise pollution. more..

Rice price 'to fall' next week

Feb 12 (BBC) The price of rice is to fall within a week, a senior government minister said. Agriculture minister, Maithreepala Sirisena, told BBC Sandeshaya that the government will start buying rice as harvest from Batticaloa and Ampara districts is to be produced to the market from next week. "The price of rice rapidly going down. When we get more rice in the market, the price will go down in a week," he told journalist Thakshila Dilrukshi. more..

Show me the way to go

Feb 12 (VT) The word serendipity was apparently invented to describe Sri Lanka and is a perfect description of my own experience. In December 1999 I was looking for a last minute escape from Christmas, I needed some sunshine, I wanted a beach and I thought Sri Lanka, which is 70% Buddhist, would be relatively Christmas free and so it came to pass that me and my Mancunian mate Ray watched the sun come up on a new millennium from the beach at Bentota, I was entirely bewitched, that was ten visits ago. more..

Main APRC proposals yet to come: LSSP

Feb 12 (CP) The ethnic problem faced by the country can be solved only through reconstitution of the Sri Lankan State by taking the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people into consideration, said Wimalasiri de Mel, General Secretary of Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). The proposals presented to President on December 23 as being those of the APRC recommending full implementation of the 13th Amendment are based on the proposals presented to the parties that support the government. more..

Govt. politicos involved in Da Moo killing?

Feb 12 (CP) "Feroze", the main suspect in the killing of Minister of Nation Building D.M. Dassanayake, is known to have had links with a prominent ruling party Deputy Minister of the area. "Feroze" who was taken into custody by the police is suspected of having close links with the LTTE as well. It is alleged that the politician is attempting to influence the investigating team into releasing the suspect. more..

Are private bus mudalalis above the law?

Feb 12 (CP) The operators of private bus services have become a law unto themselves over the years. Their callous indifference to commuter comfort, safe driving, norms of human decency and behaviour has been silently borne by the commuting public. One of the regular offences is the non-issuance of tickets to the passengers. Are they above the law? After the lapse of years, tickets were issued during the first few months of last year. more..

Parties claim abductions marring east polls

Feb 12 (CP) Postal voting for the Batticaloa local council elections will be held today amidst rivalries prevailing in the Eastern region while propaganda and canvassing are hotting up for the election proper on March 10. Poster campaigns, distribution of leaflets and group meetings are being conducted by the candidates as propaganda for the forthcoming polls. The TMVP, the political wing of the LTTE breakaway group said that the party would hold political rallies in the coming weeks. more..

India to help upgrade Sri Lanka education infrastructure

Feb 12 (Hindu) India and Sri Lanka are to meet in Bangalore before June to chalk out an action plan to upgrade the technical and managerial education sector infrastructure in the island nation to meet a serious shortage of manpower and boost economic growth. This agreement was arrived at here on Monday at an interactive session between the Indian delegation led by Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh and his Sri Lanka counterpart, Sarath Amunugama. more..

Regional development & National stability

Feb 12 (LG) At a time when an element of consensus appears to be emerging regarding the necessity of a National form of Governance, there is a challenge to envision a fresh foundation for an enduring peace and development, than on concentrating energies on reconditioning of what has been already attempted. Understandably, the prevailing political culture and its inherent constraints encourage only paths of least resistance and more..

War Grinds On

Feb 12 (LG) The advance into LTTE areas by Task Force I is taking longer than expected due to various trappings, despite plans for expediting military operations. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), desperate to end the SLA onslaughts have heavily entrapped terrain under its control, particularly in Mannar and Vavuniya fronts. Some of the soldiers engaged in the limited offensives are losing limbs due to Johnny Mines (AP Mines). more..

The West, Prabhakaran and their ‘Baila’

Feb 12 (LG) The saints in the west and the foreign correspondents in Sri Lanka do not appear to be happy with the decision of the Sri Lankan government not to reciprocate the so-called ceasefire declaration by Prabhakaran, that was violated subsequently. It is not known whether these foreign correspondents are "foreign" foreign correspondents or "local" foreign correspondents. more..

What can Tamil people and Tamil Political Parties, do to resolve Tamil question?

Feb 12 (LG) I refer to a Tamil question, firstly, because it is a question that concerns the Tamil people primarily, and, secondly, because it arises from a self-image projected by them. It is the Tamil majority areas in the North and East that have been the scene of military conflict between the state and the guerilla forces of the LTTE. Again, it is the claim of the Tamils of the North and the East, where they are a majority, to recognition of their separate nationality, with more..

Media bashing by politicians

Feb 12 (LG) In a recent political discussion related to the controversial water-management issue conducted by a private TV channel in its once a week nightly programme, a prominent minister involved in the very subject under discussion was seen uttering some deplorable words to the disgust of genteel softspoken TV viewers. They were aghast at the way the minister denounced in contemptible manner those who had the courage to point out the likelihood of ill effects related to the-contemplated water management scheme. more..

Are you ready to return to mother land?

Feb 12 (LR) After sixty years of independence, still we are branded as one of the developing countries. Many people used to attribute this to prolonged terrorism issue in the country which had been the easy pick for people as well as politicians. The terrorism is fast becoming part of the history and now we are in the verge of winning the fight against terrorism. This is good time to analyze other factors that went wrong and start rectifying those so that we can start building our country. more..

Terrorist attack was only a family squabble

Feb 12 (LNP) A family aquabble, mistakenly reported to the police as a terrorist attack in the middle of the night on Saturday (9) at Kataragama, caused pandemonium in the sacred city. When the police visited the scene on the outskirts of the sacred city area, it was found that a drunken husband had assaulted his wife who had shouted `murder murder` breaking the silence in the wee hours and raising fears among the neighbours that a terrorist attack was on, police said. more..

Send them to the government boarding

Feb 12 (LNP) This country has long been a paradise for lawmakers and lawbreakers. They are more equal than others before the law. It is not only the Executive President who enjoys legal immunity. Even the ordinary lawmakers do. The ruling party politicians are no respecters of the law of the land, which they violate according to their whims and fancies with impunity. The guardians of law steer clear of them for fear of being stripped of their khaki coats and brass buttons. more..

MiCLiC, FMC and LCS in Eelam War

Feb 12 (SLW) troops engaged in operations in Vanni. Suitable mine clearing systems must be chosen and put to effective use, thereby saving valuable lives and the need to train more men at great costs. The following is a selection of some of the best methods available to counter that threat. Clearing mines using flail or a fast spinning drum of chains is a popular method in mine clearing operations. more..

Sri Lanka cement plant to be expanded by India's Birla

Feb 12 (LBO) India's Aditya Birla group has suggested expanding a defunct cement plant in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula to exploit the region's rich deposits of limestone, government officials said. A team from the Birla group is in the island for talks with government officials on several investments. Sri Lankan officials said Monday the initial proposal submitted by the Birla group suggested more..

JVP to take Interim Council to SC

Feb 12 (SAMN) The JVP said Monday it would challenge the proposed Interim Council legislation for the Northern Province in the Supreme Court (SC) if the government attempted to establish it in apparent violation of the provisions of the Constitution. JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa said Sri Lanka’s Constitution made no legal provision for the establishment of such a council and more..

100 workers under 'house arrest' in SA

Feb 12 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) Monday said it had taken measures to assist over 100 beleaguered migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, who claim they are under virtual house arrest and held against their will, since their contract of employment lapsed six months ago. SLFEB Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said the Bureau had informed the Foreign and Health Ministries of Saudi Arabia through the embassy and was confident that a settlement could be reached within a month. more..

Govt. to take over SriLankan management

Feb 12 (SAMN) The government will definitely take over the management of SriLankan Airlines from the Emirates Company once the contract expires by end March, Senior Minister and Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said Monday. Asked about the 43.6% stake held by the Emirates, he said the latter is free to do whatever they want with the stake. “The government would definitely look into the possibility of buying the stake held by Emirates but we do not know what price they would quote for their parcel. more..

Navy, Tamil Nadu on collision course

Feb 12 (LNP) The Sri Lankan Navy and the Tamil Nadu government are on a collision course after Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday charged that the Navy had indiscriminately fired at an Indian boat killing an Indian fisherman in the process. But the Navy flatly denied this charge and insisted that the facts be first verified before making any unfounded allegations. more..

Unemployed grads express frustration

Feb 12 (SAMN) The Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) while expressing its frustration over the government’s dismal failure to provide employment to graduates Monday warned of launching island-wide protests if its longstanding grievances were not met. Protests would be held at district level beginning on Wednesday in Kurunegala followed by another in Kandy and on March 7 when all unemployed graduates would march to Colombo if the government continues to ignore their demands. more..

Landslide danger in Badulla

Feb 12 (DM) Stating that there were many areas in Badulla District at risk from landslides, the Disaster Management Centre yesterday warned of a major disaster in the area. Disaster Management Centre District Coordinator Nimal Piyasiri Bandara told the Daily Mirror that the walls of over 15 houses in the Kandeketiya area had developed cracks, while 15 Grama Sevaka Divisions were also at risk from landslides. more..

Hakeem’s security increased

Feb 12 (DM) When the rights violation petition filed by SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem was taken up before the Supreme Court yesterday (11), the Director, Legal of the Police Department, Gamini Dissanayake testified that the security personnel of Mr. Hakeem had been increased from 5 to 8 and two back-up vehicles too had been provided to him. The bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Ms. Shiranee Tilakawardane and Andrew Somawansa terminated the proceedings. more..

Civil defence Committees a must to prevent terrorism

Feb 12 (Island) The government has decided to set up Civil Defence Committees in the South immediately to assist the police in preventing terrorist acts, Minister of Power Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the media in Colombo yesterday. This has become necessary to prevent the disruption of civil life and damage to public property by the LTTE terrorists. The civil defence committees will be set up with 10 volunteers in each Grama Niladhari Division along with more..

Health Minister has got facts wrong – GMOA

Feb 12 (Island) Although the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva attempts to blame the non-functioning of the operation theatre at the Peradeniya teaching hospital on the conflict between doctors and nurses, the fact is that the health ministry has neither provided required surgical equipment to the theatre nor taken any positive measure to resolve the issue. more..