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Scholars headed for Sri Lanka to study Ramayana sites

Feb 12 (IANS) A temple trust in Bihar will soon send a team of Sanskrit scholars to Sri Lanka to study sites there associated with the Hindu epic Ramayana, including the place where Lord Rama killed Ravana and the cave in which his wife Sita is believed to have stayed. The Patna-based Mahavir Mandir Trust will be sending the experts to the island nation 'in the next three-four months', said trust secretary Kishore Kunal. more..

Love conquers all?

Feb 12 (KT) THE shock was in the advertisement. A five-star hotel in Colombo has advertised a US$2,000 package targeting lovers on Valentine’s Day. Isn’t it atrocious? My civic-minded friends asked me as we sat down for a conversation over a cup of tea. The Valentine’s Day price tag spoke of the widening gap in society. Occupying a place somewhere in the middle of the income spectrum, I see, at one extreme, people for whom busting up US$ 2,000 in a single night on a stupid commercialised concept is a pretty simple thing. more..

Indian Fishermen strike work

Feb 12 (Hindu) Mechanised-boat owners of Jegadapattinam, about 70 km from here, struck work on Monday, condemning the “indiscriminate shooting” by the Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday resulting in the death of a fisherman. They wanted the Centre to impress upon the Sri Lankan government to ensure protection to their lives and property while fishing. President of the Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, Jegadapattinam, G. Ramakrishnan, said about 300 members of the Association struck work. more..

A fight between two for the chair of Northern Interim Council

Feb 12 (LeN) The appointment of the Northern Province Interim Council is likely to delay further since two Tamil political party leaders are vying for the chair of it. The two leaders are Minister Douglas Devananda of EPDP and Ananda Sangaree of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). Devananda has proposed the President to appoint one of his nominee if he would not be appointed to the position. more..

Ganeshan confident judiciary can protect his life

Feb 12 (LD) Leader of the Western People’s Front Mano Ganeshan declared his confidence in the judiciary to protect his life, when he returned to the island at the request of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (Feb. 12th). Ganeshan, who is also Convener of the Civil Monitoring Committee, told the media at the VIP Lounge of the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake that he still feared for his life. more..

Police briefly detains AP photographer

Feb 12 (LD) Associated Press (AP) local photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe was briefly detained by the police today, after he was handed over by the Civil Defence Committee of Isipathana College, Colombo. Amarasinghe had been taking photographs near the school in the morning, when parents became suspicious and delivered him to the soldiers who were on duty nearby, reports say. The photojournalist was then detained by the Narahenpita Police for questioning and was subsequently released.

JVP again puts off teachers’ protest

Feb 12 (LD) A planned protest by teachers against authorities’ failure to issue a circular relating to the elimination of their salary anomalies has once again been postponed, the JVP affiliate Ceylon Teachers Union says. The membership was unwilling to attend the demonstration at the Viharamaha Devi Open Theatre in Colombo on February 14th due to the prevailing security situation, Secretary of the CTU Mahinda Jayasinghe told the media today (Feb. 12th). more..

Tamil businessman abducted in Negombo

Feb 12 (LD) A wealthy Tamil businessman in Negombo was abducted while he was on his way home from his workplace last night (Feb. 11th). The family of the businessman, identified as Wimalan has lodged a complaint with the Negombo Police, saying that he was seized by an unidentified group in a white van before firing shots into the air. Wimalan owns ‘Thayalan,’ a video arcade and also runs a foreign currency exchange business in the Negombo town. more..

Is Tamil Businessman Abducted by Deputy Minister?

Feb 12 (LG) "A wealthy Tamil businessman in Negombo was abducted while he was on his way home from his workplace last night (Feb. 11th), by supporters of Sarath Kumara Gunaratne, a newly appointed deputy Minister of Ports and Aviation in ruling SLFP government," top level political sources told the Sri Lanka Guardian. The family of the businessman, identified as Wimalan has lodged a complaint with the Negombo Police, saying that he was seized by an unidentified group in a white van before firing shots into the air. more..

Special Commissioner for Colombo Municipal Council (CMC)

Feb 12 (GDI) The Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council Reginald Cooray has communicated to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that it has been decided to suspend the activities of the Colombo Muincipal Council. The letter to this effect has been signed by the Governor of the Western Province, Alavi Moulana as well. The activities of CMC will come under the administration of a Special Commissioner until fresh elections are held. more..

India trade delegation here to explore further trade possibilities

Feb 12 (GDI) India, being a major investor in Sri Lanka, highlights the necessity of adopting into globally competitive terms and conditions in oil exploration in the Mannar Basin to attract the best in the world. This was revealed at a discussion between the Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and a high powered Indian delegation led by Indian Minister for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh. more..

Tamil Nadu on high alert for LTTE infiltration to the State

Feb 12 (GDI) The Tamil Nadu police said that the LTTE aides entering the state will be immediately apprehended and detained. According to Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, P. Rajendran, security has been tightened in the coastal areas of the state to prevent LTTE supporters infiltrating into the state for whatever reason including smuggling operations. The Police chief had said that the ‘Coastal Security Guards’ are carrying duties around the clock on the look out for infiltrators by sea and more..

Sripathi's Vehicle had worn out rear tyres – investigations reveal

Feb 12 (GDI) According to Motor Traffic Department investigations the vehicle in which Sripathy Sooriyarachchi was traveling in at the time of the accident in which the parliamentarian died, had worn out rear tyres.The investigations were conducted yesterday morning (11th) by the Kurunegala Motor Traffic Inspector, Sisira Kumara. Further to this, the Government Analyst's Department will conduct investigations on the fatal motor accident which claimed the lives of five travelers and seriously injured another. more..

Train service to get boost from new power sets

Feb 12 (GDI) Fifteen new power sets will be imported from China in May to augment the present train services at a cost of Rs.5250 mn, a spokesman for the Transport Ministry said. "Each power set will comprise six coaches with engine costing Rs.350 million each, and an agreement has already been signed for the purchase of power sets from China," he said, adding that this would will help ease congestion to a great extent. more..

Sripathi's death: PM condoles

Feb 12 (GDI) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake in a condolence message issued on the death of Parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, said he was deeply saddened to hear of Sooriyarachchi's demise in a road accident. "An attorney-at-law and a former Naval officer, Sooriyarachchi once worked as the Commissioner of Essential Services. After being appointed SLFP organiser for the Kelaniya electorate in 2004, he was elected as a Member of Parliament of the People's Alliance obtaining a large number of preferential votes. more..

He foiled a terror plan with seconds to spare

Feb 12 (DN) Only 10 seconds are left for 1.5 k.g of lethal C4 explosives to explode, which would result in another human catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Ten seconds is all that is left when petty officer Narangoda Vidanelage Shantha Indunil Bandara (36) of the Navy grabs a pair of scissors from the nearby fruit stall and cuts the connecting wires of the deadly clock which stops ticking and with it another human tragedy perpetrated by a terror which has no regard for human lives. more..

Dumping garbage in Green Zone: Suspect to be produced on Feb. 15

Feb 12 (DN) The flying squad of Wildlife Conservation Department arrested a person dumping garbage in the Green Zone located in front of Central Environment Authority building in Battaramulla last Tuesday. The officers of the flying squad arrested him for throwing garbage-filled bags into the marshy land in front of the Central Environment Authority, which is a Green Zone belonging to the Authority. more..

MCC raise £650,000 for tsunami projects

Feb 12 (CI) MCC have raised over £650,000 to fund recovery projects in Sri Lanka following the devastating tsunami in December 2004. Representatives from MCC visited Sri Lanka recently to witness the region's regeneration, and a short video has been released to promote the achievement. Two fund-raising matches were organised in the wake of the disaster, the first in Melbourne and the second, in June 2005, at Lord's between MCC and an International XI. more..

Jayawardene hopes to build on opening momentum

Feb 12 (CI) On a day in which the weather played a major role, both rival captains credited the momentum handed to Sri Lanka's run chase by their openers as key to a first win in the CB Series. Mahela Jayawardene felt the biggest positive was the way his batsmen played and showed character in contrast to their insipid display last week in Sydney against Australia, something the side was still trying to forget. more..

In the Army now

Feb 12 (CI) Sport has always drawn crowds, even in the most hostile conditions. Tuesday morning in Canberra was no different with dark grey clouds looming ominously. Rains lashed the Manuka Oval from between seven and half past ten, raising doubts if any game was possible in the first place. That didn't dampen the hundreds who started gathering outside the oval in little flocks at the scheduled start time (10 am). more..

M&M to set up $ 100 mn IT centre in Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (PTI) Mahindra and Mahindra on Tuesday entered into an agreement with the Board of Investments of Sri Lanka to set up a 100 million dollar IT-ITeS centre in the Economic Processing Zone at Katunayake near here. The MoU was signed between M&M Executive Director Arun Nanda and Sri Lankan Minister of Enterprise and Investment Sarath Amunugama, in the presence of visiting Indian Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh. more..

Lankan Tamil leaders reject govt package

Feb 12 (PTI) Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka have rejected the island nation government's devolution package aimed at ending the 25-year-old ethnic conflict, saying the move was "a joke played on Tamils". The All Party Representation Committee, formed by the Mahinda Rajapakse government to counter LTTE's struggle for a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, had submitted its report to the government last month. more..

Tigers shell Sri Lanka base, fighting kills dozens

Feb 12 (AFP) Tiger rebels shelled a key base in northern Sri Lanka Tuesday, killing six soldiers and wounding 10, officials said, as the defence ministry said the rebels sustained heavy losses in new fighting. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked the Thallady military camp in the district of Mannar early Tuesday, drawing retaliatory fire from security forces, a military official said. more..

Dilshan guides Sri Lanka home

Feb 12 (CI) A 21-over match should have suited the reigning world Twenty20 champions India, but a revised-down total and some blistering early strikes from Sanath Jayasuriya lifted Sri Lanka to their first win of the CB Series. Rain reduced the target to 154 and Tillakaratne Dilshan's half-century eased Sri Lanka home with 12 balls to spare. India were on the wrong end of the weather adjustments after Rohit Sharma's career-best 70 not out set up what should have been a competitive total following morning showers. more..

Testing times ahead of local elections in east

Feb 12 (IRIN) The length of time shops stay open in the evenings in Batticaloa city in eastern Sri Lanka is a key indicator of the level of tension. These days they stay open late. The climate might just be right for the 10 March local elections. Sri Lanka’s oldest election monitoring group, the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), said in a report on 6 February that there was general agreement the security situation had improved. more..

No LTTE infiltration, says top cop. Others wonder

Feb 12 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Police chief P. Rajendran's claim that there is no infiltration into his state by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers has raised some eyebrows in the Indian security establishment. Some of his colleagues too want to know why he has said what he is reported to have said. In Madurai over the weekend, Rajendran was asked about the activities of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu. more..

Rebel artillery fire hits Catholic church in Sri Lanka, killing 6 soldiers, military says

Feb 12 (AP) Artillery fired by Tamil separatists hit a Roman Catholic church near a military base in Sri Lanka's embattled north Tuesday, killing six soldiers who were cleaning the building, the military said. The attack came as the military announced 42 rebels and 10 soldiers were killed in fighting across the north on Monday. About 15 shells hit St. Anthony's Church and the nearby area in the village of Thalladi in the Mannar district, more..

Two shades of a plan

Feb 13 (CI) A match shortened by the weather still had time for two innings which, though contrasting in terms of style, were similar in that both were undefeated. Tillakaratne Dilshan's match-winning 62 was more important in the match context than Rohit Sharma's 70, which had the aesthetic value; while Rohit set up the contest, Dilshan ended it. If Dilshan had an advantage, it lay in the fact that Sri Lanka knew what they were chasing. more..

CBK says didn’t violate any law during office

Feb 13 (LD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that she had not violated any law or regulation of the country during her tenure from 1994 to 2005. Ms. Kumaratunga today (Feb. 12th) made submissions to the Supreme Court through a lawyer in a fundamental rights petition that challenges the transfer of a state land from Battaramulla for the construction of a golf course during her office. The petitioners in this FR case are two retired public servants. more..

Jaffna Local councils face financial crisis

Feb 13 (TN) Acute shortage of funds has crippled functioning of the local government authorities in the Jaffna Peninsula, and the Municipal and Pradeshya Sabhas face uncertain future, local administrative officials said. Development activities have been curtailed, and the security situation prevailing in the North has further impacted the day-to-day activities of the local councils, officials added. more..

Families of missing fishermen still suffering

Feb 13 (AN) missing in north-eastern Sri Lanka in the maelstrom of the civil war, few death certificates have been issued and a lot of families are still waiting for government compensation. The ‘Organization of Disappeared Fishermen's Parents, Wives and Children’ called a press conference on 7 February in Matara. The 75 women who took part in the event renewed their demand for the government to help them financially. more..

Reflections on the Current Situation in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (GV) In any conflict resolution exercise the main focus should be the pursuit of a political settlement. However, the APRC or the GoSL do not seem to have any urgency or seriousness of purpose. It has chosen to gamble on a military victory rather than meaningful power sharing as its formula for peace. The government’s only priority this year will be waging war in which one will be forced to become a patriot or a traitor following the Bush Doctrine. more..

Changing tunes of Rajapakse

Feb 13 (ML) Early into his presidency Mahinda Rajapakse proved himself to be a man of contradictions. The sorry state of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) due to his enforced intervention at the eleventh hour is a case in point. President Rajapakse has also made it his mission to grant interviews to several Indian newspapers as of late. more..

Germany wants Sri Lanka to decide between war and aid

Feb 13 (ML) German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul has vowed to demand from the EU that it withdraws the General System of Preference Plus offered to Sri Lanka if the Sri Lankan government continues to insist on a military option to the ethnic issue. Wieczorek-Zeul is a highly respected and powerful politician. Widely known as an influential politician with strong principles, political analysts in Germany told The Morning Leader her statements should be taken seriously more..

R2P: The Chinthanaya Version

Feb 13 (ML) In recent weeks, the public at large has been treated to the unseemly saga of the sacking, reinstatement, cancellation of visa and departure from the island of the Executive Director, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Dr. Rama Mani. What began as a internal problem of succession and transition within that organisation took on quite sensational and sordid proportions in the ways in more..

UNP blames price hike on govt's failure to generate low cost electricity

Feb 13 (ML) THE government's failure to substitute the low cost Naphtha oil to generate low cost electricity as a replacement for diesel has resulted in the proposed 40% electricity tariff revision by next month, the UNP has charged. General Secretary, UNP, Tissa Attanayake told The Morning Leader yesterday that at a time when the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had sold out the Naphtha stock to a foreign country for a cheaper rate due to lack of storage facility, more..

APRC a drag

Feb 13 (BL) Despite his encouraging rhetoric at many functions, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears to be dragging the crucial All Party Representative Committee (APRC) from reaching a final conclusion, contrary to what he portrays in public, The Bottom Line reliably learns. While a majority of the committee attempts to finalise the APRC sessions, which has been going on for more than one-and-a-half years, underhand tactics by the President, using some of his allies as scapegoats, delays the process further, more..

UNP up against the wall!

Feb 13 (BL) The United National Party (UNP) will launch an islandwide poster campaign tomorrow against the government, for failing to curtail the sky rocketing cost of living which has severely burdened the masses. UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake addressing a media briefing, said yesterday the aim of the campaign will be to educate the people on the government’s failures and in turn seek for its immediate dismissal. more..

Sri Lankan clock towers to go digital

Feb 13 (BL) Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka’s foremost telecommunications service provider recently entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils as part of an urban development project, which would introduce digital clock towers to the country. Through the agreement Dialog Telekom will modernise existing clock towers and revamp them, including the roundabouts, thus providing a face lift to the centre of the towns. more..

Eating out? Then watch out, warns CMC

Feb 13 (BL) 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 license to open a food stall or hotel. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam told The Bottom Line that as of last year, a grading system was introduced by the CMC for eating houses in Colombo. Those inspected by the CMC, which covered all the eateries in Colombo, ranged from small food kiosks to star class hotels. more..

Indian politicians fish in troubled-waters in affairs of Lankan Tamils

Feb 13 (IL) Some Indian politicians, especially, those from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, attempt to gain some mileage through a vilification campaign against the just struggle of the Tamils in the Northeast of Sri Lanka. There was a time when politicians of all shades fell over each other to issue statements in favour of Eelam Tamils, but the killing of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 changed all that. more..

Sri Lanka's Zero Tolerance on Child Soldiers

Feb 13 (AT) Addressing the UN Security Council debate on Children and Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said the Government of Sri Lanka reiterates its long held policy of zero tolerance towards the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict. He said the Government believes strongly in addressing issues of children and armed conflict pursuant to Resolution 1612. more..

The EROS & Eastern Muslims – A Reminiscence?

Feb 13 (LG) In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the EROS became a relatively popularized Tamil politico-militant organization attracting students, teachers and ordinary youths in the Eastern province. The Muslim boys who studied in Tamil schools were also attracted to the EROS through their political classes. The devastating consequences of the 1983 July riots against the Tamils in the South consolidated their belief in the armed struggle and more..

Galileo & Modernity

Feb 13 (LG) Though Copernicus is credited with "discovering" the heliocentric motion of the earth it is known that the ancient Bharaths were aware of this knowledge before him. It may be that Copernicus who received this information through the Arabs, introduced the idea to Europe and came to be recognised as the "discoverer" of the heliocentric motion of the earth. more..

Galloping inflation mainly due to war

Feb 13 (SLW) While the country is bleeding, inflation has risen to over 25%. This is what all reputed economists say. Of course the Government says it is less than 20%. They say the indicators have to be redefined with new formulae used in the calculations. Obviously, some people are going to believe this. In a crisis situation there is a tendency to hold on to illusions. Even fairytales and mythology become more important than sane political analysis. more..

Sri Lankan cloves prices stabilize after tumble

Feb 13 (LBO) Prices of Sri Lankan clove have stabilized after a sharp fall last month, a senior official has said. Gulam Chatoor of the Spices & Allied Products Producers' and Traders' Association (SAPPTA) said producers and exporters were enjoying the benefits of a better harvest and strong demand from India. "After falling from over 600 rupees to 475 rupees per kilo, the clove market has strengthened and stabilized at 525 rupees per kilo," more..

Women's voices & peace

Feb 13 (LG) We are along with all other individuals and organizations who have struggled for peace in this country welcomes the recent unilateral ceasefire declared by the LTTE and the reciprocal cessation of hostilities by the government of Sri Lanka. We hope that these welcome moves by both sides are a recognition of the fact that there is no military solution to this conflict and that only a democratic political solution based on power-sharing and more..

13th Amendment cannot provide genuine devolution

Feb 13 (FI) Following the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of July 29, 1987, the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution was introduced in October 1987 providing for an elected provincial council, a provincial board of ministers with a chief minister and a provincial governor. A Provincial Councils Act was also introduced. At provincial elections held on November 19, 1988, a North-East Provincial Council (NEPC) controlled by the EPRLF was elected. more..

13th Amendment is Not Workable And will Never Be a Success

Feb 13 (FI) “I am deeply convinced that we need to think from a fresh perspective and devise a new approach if we are to find a sustainable solution to the conflict in the north and the east. The violent conflict and the stalemate in the peace talks over the past years have gradually led to this issue progressing beyond the north and the east to engulf the entire country. more..

Sri Lankan music duo featured on ‘Global Hit’

Feb 13 (TC) Public Radio International (PRI), producer of radio programs for public radio stations across the US featured Bathiya and Santhush, on its ‘Global Hit’ segment of weekly night broadcasting - ‘The World’, on Tuesday, Feb 12th. Here is the full text of the feature, as presented by Anna Sussman: Today’s Global Hit comes to us from Sri Lanka. That’s where the musical duo Bathiya and Santhush have provoked controversy. more..