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Poor “reawakening” in Tamil areas: TMVP

Feb 15 (SAMN) The TMVP charged Thursday that most development work under the government’s ‘Reawakening of the East’ programme had been done in the Muslim majority areas, and its progress in the Tamil areas was not satisfactory in the overall context. In an exclusive interview, the TMVP’s chief candidate for the Batticaloa Municipal Council, Pradeep Master said that the tsunami rehabilitation work had sometimes been categorised as a part of the Re-awakening of the East programme. more..

‘UNP seeking cheap political mileage’

Feb 15 (SAMN) The government Thursday accused UNP MP Lakshman Kirielle of seeking "cheap political mileage",by alleging that gun shots were heard about the time Sripathy Sooriarachchi MP and three others were killed, in a car crash at Maddegama last Saturday. Acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told the weekly cabinet press briefing in Colombo, that Kirielle speaks of villagers hearing gun shots but he should ascertain the facts before making such allegations. more..

Corporate sector backs housing project for forces

Feb 15 (GDI) A large number of private sector businessmen and entrepreneurs yesterday came forward to assist the Api Wenuven Api project where the Government has commenced building 50,000 houses for members of the Security Forces under the Ranaviru Gammana concept.This was in response to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's appeal for contributions for this massive project that expresses in concrete terms the nation's gratitude to the men who put their lives on line to protect the territorial integrity of the country. more..

Dheegavapi to be developed

Feb 15 (GDI) Dheegavapi, a historic place of Buddhist worship near Ampara in the Digamadulla district is to be developed as a sacred area by the Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Ministry. A proposal to declare Dheegavapi as a sacred area presented by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has already gained Cabinet approval. History had recorded that the Buddha had stayed at Dheegavapi with 500 arahat theras during his third visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan government proposes phony solution to communal conflict

Feb 15 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse announced another proposal on January 23 for a “political solution” to the country’s “ethnic problem”. Anyone not used to interpreting political codewords in Colombo might be forgiven for believing that Rajapakse was advancing a plan to end systematic discrimination against the island’s Tamil minority and for negotiations with the LTTE to end the country’s brutal 25-year war. Nothing could be further from the truth. more..

Kalasoori Shelton Premaratne entertains Australian audience

Feb 15 (AT) Veteran Sri Lankan Music Director and composer, Shelton Premaratne presents his Canberra musical performance on next Saturday at “ Marunpi” Performance Centre of Hokara School in Canberra commencing at 6.30PM. This musical presentation has been organised in commemoration of Maestro Shelton Prematne’s invaluable service to the Sri Lankan music. Maestro Shelton Premaratne who changed the music scene in Sri Lanka, and a veteran of cinema music, more..

Police and jail guard allegedly torture a boy to confess

Feb 15 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the alleged torture, by the Police, of a 16-year-old boy by the Sooriyawewa police on 20 January 2008 in Sri Lanka. He was tortured into confessing to a crime, which he has since denied. He was also reportedly tortured by his guards at the Hambanthota prison on January 24. Police filed charges against him of two robbery cases using the forced confessions. more..

Teacher pay hikes, promotions on performance - Cooray

Feb 15 (Island) Increments and promotions for school teachers in the Western province will be determined on evaluation reports of their performance from the current year, Western Province Chief Minister Reginold Cooray said yesterday. He was addressing a meeting held at the opening of a new school, Madinnagoda Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya in Rajagiriya. Schools are open only for 185 days a year and in addition teachers are entitled to 42 days leave per year. more..

Amnesty for AWOL Navy personnel

Feb 15 (Island) Following appeals from various quarters the President has granted approval for a general amnesty to Naval cadres who had absented themselves without leave. This amnesty would be valid from February 15 to February 28, under the following conditions: The amnesty applies to those naval cadres who absented themselves from duty without leave after January 1, 2003. more..

Online Service 1929: Good response from public

Feb 15 (Island) The online service 1929 started by the Ministry of Child Development and Women Empowerment on January 29, to prevent child abuse received more than 200 complaints within the last two weeks. A large number of callers had given information or made complaints of child abuse cases while some children too had directly complained to the service even about their personal grievances, more..

A’sangaree new Governor of North?

Feb 15 (DM) TULF President V. Anandasangaree is likely to give serious thought to an offer made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take up the post of Governor of the North. Mr. Anandasangaree told the Daily Mirror yesterday he would convey his decision when he meets the President later this week, “I was offered the Governor’s post by President Rajapaksa some nine months ago after the Supreme Court judgment to de-merge the north east was delivered. more..

'Students have no right to detain lecturers'

Feb 15 (DM) University students are not under a different law and they have no right to detain lecturers for the lack of facilities in the universities, observed the Anuradapura Magistrate and Additional District Judge, when a magisterial inquiry against the house arrest of university lecturers was taken up yesterday. Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte made this observation when the case was taken up for trial, against 13 students of Rajarata University, more..

'Sri Lanka successful in curbing smoking and alcohol consumption'

Feb 15 (GDI) Addressing the first session of the Inter-Government Negotiating Body on a protocol on illicit trade in tobacco products held at the International Conference Centre in Geneva recently, Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala De Silva said that the country has moved forward despite many obstacles to give effect to comprehensive implementation of the policy through the highest political commitment. more..

Sri Lanka, emerging Asia would gain from prudent monetary policy: S&P

Feb 15 (LBO) Countries that resist pressure to ease monetary policy would make long term gains, the rating agency Standard and Poors' said in a report on 11 Asian nations that showed Sri Lanka had the highest forecast inflation in 2008. "Some central banks will likely yield to calls to support growth and employment by easing monetary policy despite the risk of price pressures," S & P said in a report released Friday. more..

Sri Lanka Jan tourist arrivals up 0.6 pct vs yr ago

Feb 15 (Reuters) Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in January crept up a better-than-expected, 0.64 percent compared with a year earlier, given an esclalation in violence on the island. January arrivals edged up to 56,916, from 56,553 in the same month a year ago, the island state's tourist authority said. "The visit of the spiritual leader of the Bohra community, attracted over 8,000 devotees in January," more..

India calls for naval alliance with Sri Lanka and other countries

Feb 15 (AFP) India called for an alliance of navies to boost security at sea at its first naval summit Thursday with nations that have a stake in the busy maritime lanes of the Indian Ocean. India calls for military alliance at naval summit by Pratap Chakravarty Twenty-six representatives of navies from countries including Australia, Egypt, France and Sri Lanka are attending the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), more..

Karuna: The Tragedy of a Rebel (Part III)

Feb 15 (LG) When the much expected ‘mother of all battles’ between Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s men and the loyalists of his erstwhile favourite Col. Karuna ended in just three days the Sun God looked more omnipotent than ever before. The rebels resisted the Tiger offensive briefly, and unsuccessfully. Then Karuna did the unthinkable – he disbanded his fighters and disappeared, into political oblivion, many believed. more..

Prabha's Pet Regiment Hit, 3 Charles Anthony Lt. Colonels Killed

Feb 15 (SLW) The Sri Lanka Air Force struck a severe blow to the LTTE last morning. A swarm of jets that scattered into the skies headed towards an LTTE base situated North East of Vishvamadukulam. Their target was the LTTE leader Velupillai Pripaharan's most trustworthy unit, the "Ratha Regiment". The Tigers were not expecting the attack. The base, appropriately titled by SLA Military Intelligence as 'Ratha Base' was home to this young regiment, more..

Air Force females gain wings

Feb 15 (GDI) Seven females were among the Sri Lanka Air Force Paratroopers who participated at the passing out ceremony (Parade) of the 14th batch of the Sri Lanka Air Force held at the Katunayake Air Force base today (15). This is the first time in the history of the country’s armed forces that women gained their paratrooper’s wings. Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilake was the Chief Guest at the event. more..

Coconut plucker walks away with Lester’s awards

Feb 15 (DN) Internationally renowned film Director Dr. Lester James Peiris was to confront a real life drama on Wednesday evening when two of his sizable collection of awards were stolen from his residence by a coconut plucker. The bronze plaques were subsequently recovered after the thief was nabbed at a security check point in Bambalapitiya. His wife, Sumithra Peiris, herself an acclaimed film director told the Daily News that a Presidential award and a Sarasaviya award had been spirited away by the thief. more..

Jaffna youth to visit agricultural institutions in South

Feb 15 (DN) Twenty youth from the Jaffna district will tour the South shortly, Jaffna district Agriculture Department instructor I. Saundarajan said. They will visit agricultural institutions and look into the advantages of the use of environment friendly natural chemicals used successfully in the south. The youth will also participate in a 10 day training programme in the south, he added. more..

Religious & other leaders to pressurize govt. over burning issues

Feb 15 (LD) The Congress of Religions is leading legal, business and professional associations in an effort to pressurize the government and political parties to address the country’s burning issues. They met in Colombo yesterday (Feb. 15th) and called for the establishment of the Constitutional Council, implementation of electoral reforms, ensuring media freedom and an end to violence. more..

Minister Ali's thugs damage houses, burn boutiques and bomb

Feb 15 (LeN) The election coordinator of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) M.L.A.M. Hisbullah said to 'Lanka-e-News' that intimidation of the SLMC local government election candidates and damaging the property of their supporters is spreading in the Eastern Province. He further said that the supporters of a Government Minister are engaged in violence especially in Valachchanai. His allegation is leveled at Minister Amir Ali. more..

The Church of Mannar asks the local media for accuracy

Feb 15 (AN) The attack on the shrine of Saint Anthony, in the area of Mannar, in which six soldiers died and the building was seriously damaged, has been reported on poorly by the Sri Lanka media, and today the officials of the diocese are providing their version of the bombing of the building by LTTE rebels. The attack, which took place on February 12, killed six Sri Lanka and soldiers and wounded ten. The entryway of the church suffered serious damage. more..

Australia beat Sri Lanka by 63 runs

Feb 15 (CI) You have to give it to Adam Gilchrist - he does have some sense of timing. In his last innings at the WACA, with Australia under a little bit of pressure half-way through the final edition of the CB Series, Adam Gilchrist and his little squash ball treated an adopted home crowd to a measured hundred that was exactly one half of his side's 236. That total seemed rather disappointing given how well Sri Lanka did to dismiss Australia in 49.4 overs, but it was a similar pattern when they came out to bat. more..

Sri Lanka's Rating Outlook Cut to `Negative' by S&P

Feb 15 (BN) Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook on Sri Lanka's credit rating to "negative," citing weakening state finances and fallout from the end of a cease- fire between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. The credit assessor today affirmed Sri Lanka's B+ rating, four levels below investment grade. S&P on Aug. 8 had raised Sri Lanka's outlook to "stable." A negative outlook increases the country's chances of a rating downgrade. more..

Stranded Sangakkara deserves help

Feb 16 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen have let down their most experienced performers again. One of the most frustrating aspects of their entertaining all-round play is that there is no support for their main men. Unless a couple out of Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara can produce significant innings there is currently no hope of a match-winning rally. The visitors should have beaten Australia in Perth, but their middle and lower orders went missing when they were desperately needed. more..

The most successful batsmen against Murali

Feb 16 (CI) Just one match short of the halfway stage, this ongoing edition of the triangular series in Australia is turning out to be one of the most closely fought in a long time. All three teams have obviously been evenly matched, but there have also been several individual match-ups that have made for fascinating viewing. Among the most interesting aspects of the tournament has been the manner in which Muttiah Muralitharan has been rendered ineffective by batsmen from both rival sides. more..

Sri Lanka slams S&P over 'illogical, ill-advised, unwarranted' outlook cut

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has slammed Standard and Poor's (S&P) over an outlook cut saying the move was unwarranted, illogical, ill-advised, and without rational basis. "It is abundantly clear that S&P has chosen to overlook the many favourable factors and are, for reasons best known to them, suddenly discovering weaknesses in fiscal and debt consolidation of such a magnitude that the outlook needs to be changed urgently," more..

Ex-army officer claims JVP-LTTE arms deal 20 yrs. ago

Feb 16 (LD) An ex-army officer is accusing the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna of having planned an arms deal with the LTTE in Hambantota 20 years ago. The allegation surfaced at the Colombo District Court this week when Wasantha Perera, a retired Major General, sought 50 million rupees in damages from JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa. The petitioner says that Weerawansa had accused him of having deserted the Kanagarayankulam Army Camp along with millions of rupees worth of military equipment following an LTTE attack. more..

Sirasa News Director attempted to abduct

Feb 16 (LeN) The News Director of Sirasa Media Network Susil Kindelpitiya complained to the Police Headquarters today (15) that two unidentified persons followed him with an intention of causing harm. He says in his complaint lodged in Police that he has fears about his life since the spate of intimidations on the media workers during the past period and due to reporting of such incidents and other news through Sirasa Media Network. more..

Lavanya not taken to Visakha College due to an order of the Minister

Feb 16 (LeN) Nethmi Lavanya Yogendra who passed year five scholarship as the second in Colombo rank was suspended entry to Visakha College, Colombo on an order of the Minister of Education. The student's father Yogendra Madawan Yogendra says that his daughter who passed year five scholarship examination in Sinhala medium was not admitted to Visakha College since she was an ethnic Tamil. more..

Sri Lankan Civil War Spreads to Colombo

Feb 16 (AP) As a raging civil war killed thousands in the country's northeast, Sri Lankans in Colombo and other southern cities shopped, held picnics and cheered their children at soccer matches. Now a recent wave of bombings has brought the devastation of the civil war to the heart of the capital, and many are scared to leave their homes. The bombings blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels have ripped through passenger buses and a department store and killed half a high school baseball team in a packed train station. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit stable in 2008, exports up in December

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit grew a mere 5.6 percent in 2007, and exports in December soared 22.7 percent to 863.4 million dollars, the Central Bank said. The trade balance grew to 3,560 million dollars in 2007 with exports growing 12.5 percent to 7.7 billion dollars, and imports growing 10.2 percent to 11.3 billion dollars. Agricultural exports grew 16.6 percent to 1.5 billion dollars (tea 1,025.2 million dollars) and more..

Leading A Buddhist Life

Feb 16 (AT) To know the purpose of life, you will first have to study the subject through your experience and insight. Then, you will discover for yourself the true meaning of life. Guidelines can be given. but you must create the necessary conditions for the arising of realisation yourself. There are several prerequisites to the discovery of the purpose of life. First, you must understand the nature of man and the nature of life. more..

“Wanni drive yielding results”

Feb 16 (Hindu) The Defence Ministry said on Friday the security forces’ “quest to liberate terror-dominated Wanni region is gaining” drive. Many civilians had been able to escape the terror clutches and seek protection in the cleared areas, it said. It said that in Mannar 22 civilians sought protection at the Navy posts since Tuesday. “The civilians who were from Vellankulama and Iluppakadavai, deep in the non-liberated Wanni, have claimed that they could escape the terror clutches because of the dwindling LTTE hold in the region.” more..

The Galle literary festival: from the left flank

Feb 16 (GV) 2008 saw the second festival at Galle, “Let’s Play with Words.” Those present the previous year remarked that it was more varied and incorporated more Sri Lankan authors, both local and expatriate. Implicit in the title, of course, is the understanding that the focus is on creative literature in English, not French, Sinhala, Tamil or pidgin. Implicit in the title, of course, is the understanding that the focus is on creative literature in English, not French, Sinhala, Tamil or pidgin. more..

‘GSP Plus’ privilages: The need for constitutional amendment

Feb 16 (GV) There has recently been speculation and media reports about the European Union’s system of tariff preferences known as the ‘GSP Plus’ programme, of which Sri Lanka is presently a beneficiary country. The tariff preferences create massive advantages in particular to our apparel industry, and have implications for the wellbeing and employment for thousands in that important sector of our economy. It is vital, therefore, that Sri Lanka retains this privilege. more..

Health care center inaugurated in catholic village

Feb 16 (UCAN) The Church is hoping a new health center in a remote village will save lives that in the past would likely have been lost to illness or accidents. "In the past if anybody fell ill due to accidents with pesticides or agro-chemicals, severe cuts or snake bites, they would have to travel -- with difficulty -- 46 kilometers to Anuradhapura," S.G.D. Robert, a Catholic farmer in Allagollewa village, told UCA News. more..

Army troupe showcases Lanka’s rich culture

Feb 16 (TP) A group of touring Sri Lankan artistes performed a spectacular show that depicted the country's rich cultural tradition, at Gulf Cinema yesterday. The cultural show was jointly hosted by Sri Lankan embassy and Sri Lanka Coordinating committee. A large number of families and community leaders turned up for the event. Sri Lankan ambassador S B Atugoda was also present. more..

Tamil Tigers exploit exiles abroad to fund insurgency

Feb 16 (DT) THE Sri Lankan flag, with its green-and-orange stripes and yellow image of a lion, fluttered proudly in a brisk ocean wind. President Mahinda Rajapaksa also seemed filled with pride when he stepped up to the microphone to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence on Monday of last week. “Our security forces are today achieving victories against terrorism unprecedented in history,” he said defiantly, referring to the civil war that has crippled the country for the last 25 years. more..

India and Pakistan link to protect Basmati

Feb 16 (BBC) As a team of men thrash the paddy on concrete slabs, two women load the produce onto oxen driven carts. Ten kilometres from the border between India and Pakistan, his lush green fields have a bumper crop. Grown in the foothills of the Himalayas, this aromatic rice was once known as the food of the emperors. Basmati is the rice grown exclusively in the upper areas of the Gangetic Plains, on both sides of the border. more..

Sri Lanka dragonflies draw eco-tourists

Feb 16 (LBO) An insect with large multifaceted eyes and two pairs of transparent wings on an extended body is luring tourists to Sri Lanka and helping a specialist eco-travel firm earn big bucks. "We had people coming into Sri Lanka just to see dragonflies," Jetwing Eco Holiday's chief executive Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne said. "Ten years ago nobody would have thought that dragonflies would be a tourism product." more..

Resolute action key to curb deployment of child soldiers

Feb 16 (LG) This debate takes place on the eve of upcoming consultations on the 10 year review of the Gracia Machel Report which brought this issue to the fore. Therefore it is time to take stock of action taken so far by the international community to address the detestable practice of the use of children for violent purposes in conflict situations. We recognize the role of the Secretary-General and more..

Prof. Vitharana's Politics for What ? With whome?

Feb 16 (LG) It appears that the ambassador of the United States of America wants us to follow the leadership given by Tissa Vitharana to find a solution to the so called ethnic problem. It could be the first time that a representative of American Imperialism, in the terminology of the LSSP, wants the others to follow a Trotskyite in solving some problem as perceived by the Americans. more..

LTTE attacks Catholic Church in Mannar

Feb 16 (SLE) Every now and then, the LTTE gets tired of pretending. Pretending to be the saviors of the Tamil people, pretending to be good guys is no doubt hard, when that is far from the truth. That is probably why, every now and then, the mask slips, and the LTTE reveals itself for what it really is - a ruthless terrorist group, with no respect for the rights of others. In almost three decades, the LTTE, in line with its total irreverence for human life, has also shown utter contempt for all religions. more..

Tamil Tigers must be made to pay for desecrating Catholic churches, Buddhist temples and Mosques

Feb 16 (SLW) For the sake of regaining confidence in the clergy, we urge the Church hierarchy to immediately begin a process to marginalize and expose the rogue elements bringing ill repute to the Church. Continued silence and inaction by the church hierarchy could be interpreted as tacit acquiescence. The onus is also on the Catholic congregation to pressure the Church hierarchy to act in the name of democracy and religious values. more..

Sri Lanka state firm wins $125mn luxury housing deal in Qatar

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's State Engineering Corporation (SEC) has clinched a deal to build a $125mn luxury housing project in Qatar, construction minister Rajitha Senaratne said. SEC will send 1,600 workers to Qatar to build the 345 urban villas and also ship locally made inputs like wall and floor tiles, electrical wiring and switches. The project will generate foreign exchange through profits, payment for inputs and worker remittances. more..

Sri Lanka lifts ban on medical reps

Feb 16 (LBO) A ban on representatives of Sri Lanka's healthcare firms visiting hospitals has been lifted following a presidential order after the industry agreed to follow a code of conduct, an industry body said. Sri Lanka's health ministry had banned visits by representatives to hospitals as part of a series of regulations to curb the sale of branded pharmaceuticals and the influence of drug firms on the medical profession. more..

Make human rights the priority: AI reply to Keheliya

Feb 16 (LeN) Amnesty International today called on the Sri Lanka government to make human rights the priority by allowing the organisation into the country to make an impartial assessment of its and the LTTE human rights record, following accusations from Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella that the organisation was biased against the government. "Amnesty International's role is to monitor and report on human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict. more..