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Scholarship winner rejected by Visaka College due to race

Feb 16 (LD) A girl, who had come second from Colombo district at the Year Five Scholarship Examination 2007 and admitted to Visaka College, had been rejected by the Education Ministry, ‘Ravaya’ reports. Nethmi Lavanya Yogendra, who sat the exam as a student of President’s College, Nawala, had obtained 190 marks - which was above the 182 mark requirement for admission to Visaka College. more..

Mervyn as president’s rep. in Constitutional Council

Feb 16 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva will resign from Parliament on February 22nd to take up an appointment as the president’s representative in the Constitutional Council. “There is nothing special in this. I decided to resign to accept the post in the Constitutional Council,” he told the media. Mervyn Silva first entered Parliament in 1994 from the Tissamaharama electorate on the UNP ticket. He crossed over to the SLFP in 1999 and was appointed Deputy Minister of Social Services. more..

Abducted Tamil hotelier freed

Feb 16 (LD) A wealthy Tamil hotelier from Wellawatte had been freed two days after he was abducted by a group on a white van, police sources say. Identified as Sinniah Sellaiah, 49, he was seized from his hotel on the night of February 14th, his family had complained to the Wellawatte Police. This morning, he surfaced from Wattala, where he is presently staying with a relative. The father of three had told the police that his captors had questioned him about a recent visit by him to Batticaloa. more..

Coal-fired power plant construction to be expedited

Feb 16 (GDI) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NPTC) are exploring the possibility of expediting the construction of 500 MW coal fired power plant in Trincomalee, Power and Energy Ministry official said and the Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Senevirathne held discussions with Indian Commerce Minister Jairam Ramesh in this regard in Colombo recently. more..

Cadtes to help boost security in schools

Feb 16 (GDI) A special programme, Kumara Pavura, is being implemented jointly by the National Cadet Corps and the Education Ministry under the direction of the Defence Ministry and patronage of Presidential Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to enhance security arrangements in schools, following Education Minister Susil Premajayantha's directives that a sustained programme to ensure security in schools should be implemented with the co-operation of Security Forces, more..

Fresh milk popularization programme gathers momentum

Feb 16 (GDI) The programme to popularise the consumption of fresh milk as a substitute for imported milk powder launched by the Livestock Development Ministry, initiatives is making rapid progress with the opening of 118 new milk stalls in Colombo Kalutara, Kandy, Nurawa Eliya, Kurunegala and Puttalam districts. Under this programme, milk stalls have been opened at 12 schools, three universities and three technical collages to popularise liquid milk consumption among the students. more..

Work on Matara-Kataragama railway line to begin April

Feb 16 (GDI) The Government has decided to commence the construction of the US$ 300 million Matara-Kataragama railway line by April this year, according to the Transport Ministry. It is anticipated that the existing rail network will be extended by another 113 kilo metres when this section of the railway line is completed. The project is being implemented in three stages and the first phase is in progress from Matara to Beliatta. more..

Sri Lankan teenager faces possible beheading as execution numbers soar

Feb 16 (AI) Amnesty International is warning that a Sri Lankan teenager is at risk of being beheaded in Saudi Arabia, despite having had no access to lawyers during her capital trial. A Saudi court is reported to be considering Sri Lankan domestic worker Rizana Nafeek's appeal against her existing death sentence. If the sentence is upheld, she could be at imminent risk of execution. more..

Jayawardene asks batsmen to fire

Feb 16 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has urged his side to adopt a smarter approach following Sri Lanka's 63-run loss to Australia in the sixth CB Series match in Perth. Sri Lanka were in with a great chance to notch up their first win over Australia but a meek batting performance put paid to their chances. "We need to go hard, but the shot selection has to be a bit better," he said after the loss. more..

Prabhakaran critically injured?

Feb 16 (SAMN) Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke said he was confident that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had been critically injured in a series of air strikes on Nov. 26, 2007. The Air Force had, he revealed in an interview on State television, dropped twenty bombs in the raid and all of them had hit the target. After that attack, he said, very little had been heard or seen of Prabhakaran, who didn’t even turn up at the funeral of senior LTTE leader Charles’. more..

UNP pushing for Nat. policy on values

Feb 16 (SAMN) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said Friday the Jathika Sabha (National Congress) would start preparing a national policy based on Sri Lankan values next month aimed at restoring the country. Wickremesinghe who was the chief guest at the opening of the UNP office in Uva Paranagama said this policy framework would be based on Sri Lankan values and tradition and added that more..

Thinakkural scribe complains of threat

Feb 16 (SAMN) A journalist of the Colombo based Thinakkural newspaper Friday made a police complaint alleging threats to his life over his reporting of human rights, parliament proceedings and most recently the upcoming eastern elections and election related violence. Journalist A.A Mohammad Anzir in his complaint lodged at the Modera police station said he had received a letter carrying a Batticaloa address threatening his life and those of his family members if he continued with his reports. more..

Lankan waters affected by pollution

Feb 16 (SAMN) The waters around Sri Lanka are among the most heavily damaged and polluted ocean regions in the world, a study has revealed. The research by a team of American, British and Canadian researchers was published in Friday’s edition of Science. Activities like water and air pollution, overfishing, commercial shipping or greenhouse gas emission are continually damaging the planet and there is no sign that they will ever stop. more..

Rs.2,500 m to buy Maha harvest

Feb 16 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs.2,500 million to purchase the Maha paddy harvest. Under the Government’s national paddy purchasing mechanism, arrangements have already been made to purchase the Maha paddy harvest in the Eastern region, Agriculture Development and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Daily News yesterday. The Government has made arrangements to purchase 30,000 Metric tons of paddy stock only from the Eastern region. more..

‘Architect 2008’ at BMICH

Feb 16 (DN) The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) will mark its first annual sessions following the Golden Jubilee celebration last year with “Architect 2008” at the BMICH on February 20 under the Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayaka’s patronage. Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane and Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff will be the guests of honour. more..

Civilian exodus from Tiger territory

Feb 16 (Island) The Media Centre for National Security yesterday said that there had been an exodus of people from the LTTE controlled areas in the Mannar district to Government controlled areas during the past few weeks. Those who fled from the clutches of the Tigers had told the security forces that they could no longer live in those areas as the LTTE was getting them to do forced labour, conscripting their children and abducting people. more..

MILCO to takeover IDPCL P’ruwa operations

Feb 16 (Island) The Polonnaruwa operations of International Dairy Products Company Limited (IDPCL), will be taken over by MILCO, the government announced on Thursday. Acting Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department, said that the Memorandum, to take over IDPCL, submitted by Livestock Development Minster R. M. C. B. Ratnayake, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday. more..

Police recall forms because of ‘misprint’

Feb 16 (DM) Police have recalled the controversial forms issued by them in the Modera area recently saying some of the questions were misprints while authorities were however of the view the information was required from individuals having large amounts of money. The Modera Police said it had recalled the House Registration forms that were distributed in the Modera Police Division after discovering a “misprint” requesting for details of individuals’ bank accounts. more..

Tiger demo at Lankan match

Feb 16 (DM) The presence of some spectators at the Sri Lanka – India cricket match at the Manuka Oval earlier this week provoked a certain amount of controversy compelling officials to remove politically slanted placards supportive of the LTTE carried by these spectators, an Australian newspaper reported yesterday. It said before the day’s play at least 200 fans wearing red T-shirts with the words ‘Voice of Tamils’ and ‘Where is the Humanity’, stood outside the gates accompanied by drummers, dancers and whistles. more..

Paymasters and Godfathers of Centres for Poisonous Accusations

Feb 16 (PISL) The last couple of weeks have seen much verbiage expended over what might be termed the ICES issue, with a predictable range of skilled polemicists rushing to the defence of Dr Rama Mani, the once and future head of the Colombo branch of that once august institution. Her defenders have clearly followed the time honoured technique of obfuscating issues, by attributing nasty motives, and making dramatic claims as loudly as possible in an effort to convince the world that what they say is true. more..

Prabhakaran critically injured last year: Sri Lanka air chief

Feb 16 (IANS) Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was 'critically injured' in an air raid on Nov 26, 2007, said Air Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke, commander of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). However, B. Nadesan, head of the political wing of the LTTE, said the claim was baseless. On Friday, Goonetilleke told the state-owned television network ITN that Prabhakaran's presence in the targeted site was evident in the volume of anti-aircraft fire that the raiders faced. more..

Sri Lanka says jets attack northern rebel base

Feb 16 (Reuters) Sri Lankan military jets bombed and destroyed a Tamil Tiger military base in the island's rebel-held north on Saturday, the military said, in a third successive day of air raids. There were no details of casualties immediately from the strike in the northwestern district of Mannar that followed bombings on rebel positions in neighbouring Mullaittivu over the past two days, an air force spokesman said. more..

Arnold: It was an offer I couldn't refuse

Feb 17 (SMH) SYDNEY-BASED so-called "rebel league" player Russel Arnold said the Indian Cricket League made him an offer he couldn't knock back and he should not be seen as a traitor for signing. Arnold, who played 44 Tests and 180 one-day internationals for Sri Lanka, retired from international cricket after the World Cup last April. In July, he was flattered to be offered a contract with the ICL, a Twenty20 league that is not sanctioned by the International Cricket Council. more..

Maid jumps as police arrives

Feb 17 (ATO) A 30-year-old Sri Lankan maid has been admitted to a hospital following a vain attempt to end her life by jumping from the second floor of her sponsor’s house in West Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, reports Al-Anba daily. According to a security source the sponsor called the police and police and paramedics rushed to the spot to prevent the woman from jumping. However, she reportedly jumped when she heard the sound of police siren. more..

Death of Sreepathi, end of a fast track political career

Feb 17 (LR) Sreepathi sooriarachchi was known to be a politician in a fast track. February 9th marked the end of his political career and, ironically it was resulted due to the excessive speed of his own vehicle. There are different motivations for a person to enter into politics. It is very few those who enter into politics as a natural extend to their genuine social service. The bulk of the people enter into politics due to their political family background or others come with business motives. more..

Experience and experiment in politics-a false dichotomy

Feb 17 (FI) Fourth of February, Mahinda Rajapakse brought forth a new argument to justify his flat out rejection of the real APRC proposals and the dubious adoption of its ad-hoc recommendation to implement the Provincial Councils system under the Thirteenth Amendment. “We cannot offer solutions that are experiments”, he said, but only a solution “which can be implemented and about which we have experience.” more..

Colombo claims destruction of LTTE “operation centre”

Feb 17 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on Saturday claimed to have destroyed an LTTE “operation centre” in Mannar district even as fierce fighting continued between the forces and the Tigers along the Forward Defence Lines. A statement by the Defence Ministry said here that SLAF fighter jets launched fresh air strikes at an identified LTTE “operation centre”, in the south of Palampiddi, Mannar. more..

Upali Wijewardena: Memories of the Unforgettable Tycoon

Feb 17 (TC) If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the biblical life span of three score and ten today (Feb 17th). Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared twenty-five years ago just four days before his forty-fifth birthday. This article is written as tribute to the man in this eventful week of significant anniversaries. Legally Upali Wijewardena is presumed dead though his body was never found. more..

Tragic Crisis Surrounds The Colombo I.C.E.S

Feb 17 (TC) Usually this column devotes itself to issues related to politics, political violence, terrorism, ethnic conflict, war, peace process, power sharing etc. This column departs from this practice this week to focus on an Institution that has been in the news for the past few weeks - The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)in Colombo. At the outset I wish to emphasise that I am both biassed and unbiassed on this subject. more..

UN special envoy flies in to Lanka as govt. shifts deadline to end war

Feb 17 (SL) While fighting in the northern theatre of war intensified to such a degree that the government was last week compelled to revisit the deadline set for finishing the war, the international community continued to mount pressure on the human rights front with the United Nations' focus on the emerging crisis in Sri Lanka also increasing. It was evident for sometime now that the government had placed all its political eggs in the war basket and more..

Air power - govt's trump card

Feb 17 (SL) The majority of bombs dropped on LTTE-controlled areas in air force sorties are too inaccurate to be termed precision weapons, or even near-precision weapons, and leave considerable room for civilian casualties or 'collateral damage,' according to foreign defence analysts. The Sunday Leader interviewed Western and Asian aerial weapons experts who explained the inherent limitations in the accuracy of unguided or 'dumb' bombs dropped by aircraft on to ground targets. more..

Questions over Sri's death

Feb 17 (SL) While controversy surrounds the car crash that killed Coordinator, SLFP (M), Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi and three others in Tambuttegama on February 9, fresh questions are now being raised as to why the police produced two hitherto unknown persons in court as eyewitnesses last Friday (15) when there were eyewitnesses at a nearby garage in Tambuttegama, army personnel and villagers who gathered at the scene of the crash. more..

Vijaya died for the cause of devolving power -Chandrika

Feb 17 (SL) JVP put up posters saying Vijaya would be killed. Then they brazenly claimed responsibility for the assassination. Mahinda Rajapakse sent his brother Basil to join the UNP and board the green stage. The present administration has shamelessly paved the way for racism. No dialogue on power sharing except the bogus APRC exercise. JVP and JHU are marginal forces with less than 5% of the total vote. They survive on communalism. more..

‘Why can’t these fellows catch Prabhakaran?’

Feb 17 (LG) There is a colleague of mine who gets most offended if, while driving his car, he is stopped at a military checkpoint. He makes it a point to show his irritation to the poor soldier or airman who has had the cheek to stop Him. I get the impression that He feels on such occasions that He has so many important things to do instead of wasting His time proving His identity to a mere soldier. more..

We Will Win! We Will Win!

Feb 17 (LG) What does this litany of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) signify? Not just an occupying army with nothing to do but occupy. It indicates an occupying army with a determination to dominate and suppress the rights of those controlled through that occupation. This desire to dominate and suppress is the very opposite of the winners of World War II. True, they had a desire to re-fire a demand for democracy, but here in Sri Lanka the reverse is true. more..

Freedom From Colonization

Feb 17 (LG) In order to understand Sri Lanka, or for that matter any country, after colonization that began in the sixteenth century, one should first have an understanding of what modernity is. Modernity has been defined as a phenomenon that began with the renaissance by some authours, while some others are of the opinion that modernity is a product of reformation. Similarly there are different opinions with respect to the end of Modernity. more..

What is not said of Elara-Dutugamunu war

Feb 17 (LG) Does the portrayal of Dutugamunu as Sri Lanka’s warrior-king in the ancient documentations, relate only half the story? Maha Vamsa’ written some 700 years after Dutugamunu (BC l01-BC 77), sourcing information of older literature - Thupa Vamsa and Rohana Vamsa devoted 11 of its 37 chapters to Dutugamunu. Deepavamsa’s account comparatively was very brief. His passionate desire to capture Pihiti Rata from the Chola king - Elara, more..

The war against lovers

Feb 17 (LG) "These lovers fled away into the storm," wrote John Keats long time ago. It would appear that the best thing lovers in this country can do would be to flee into the storm and disappears as did Keats’ lovers given the hostility and official harassment they have to undergo in our society in public spaces and in not so public spaces. Let me begin with two examples that will place in context certain dominant issues of morality that more..

Carnatic Music Genius Saint Sri Thyagaraja celebrated in Colombo

Feb 17 (HA) All musicians and music lovers gathered to pay tribute, and sing and play the Gems of Thyagaraja. Men and women of all age dreesed gorgeously Five Keerthanams are known as the “Panchrathna Keethnanam”. The ‘Pancha Rathna Krithis’ are sung during the Aradhana. They are Jagadananda of Natai Ragam, Dudukugala of Gowla Ragam, Sadinchanae of Arabhi Ragam, Kanakana Ruchira of Varali Ragam and Endharo Mahanu Bhavulu of Sri Ragam. more..

Heart to Heart Chat with Somawansa – 6

Feb 17 (AT) JVP leader Somawansa expressed his views on the economic situation and its inherent bias towards inequality, the role of the government and the private sectors, when continuing his dialogue with the Asian Tribune. The disparities between income groups, provinces and district were also discussed. Here is the interview with Somawansa Amerasinghe. K.T.Rajasingham: You said that you wanted to say something about the economic side? What is that you want to talk about? more..

Infamous NGO opens front to provide space for LTTE along with their foreign minders

Feb 17 (AT) Sri Lanka people and their elected Government have realised that the LTTE has to be defeated if the country has to be liberated economically. They have proved the earlier publicized statement that the LTTE cannot be defeated a myth. Yet, the NGO mafia and their foreign minders continue to plot to prevent the demise of the LTTE. The latest move is by International Alert to open fronts in the UK, Australia and Canada to promote more..

Section of Sri Lankan Media Continues to Undermine Mahinda Loyalists

Feb 17 (AT) A section of Sri Lankan media continues to undermine Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists. They include Gotabhaya, Basil, Nivad and Dr. Kohona. The modus operandum is simple. Use some marginally accurate information, dress it up in fluent English, throw in a concocted statement in Sinhala written in roman script and serve it as fact. The goal appears to be to undermine the credibility of the few who made tremendous sacrifices to respond to the call of the nation, more..

Playing with the Future

Feb 17 (AT) Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s commitment to a separate state for Tamils cannot be doubted. For most of his life he has lived for it and someday he will die for it. Ironically his vision of this separate state and the methods he uses to make it a reality have undermined not just his capacity to achieve it but also the well being and the future of the people on whose behalf he has claimed it. Mr. Pirapaharan wants not a Tamil Eelam but a Tiger Eelam, a state under his domination, more..

Killing Prabhakaran Will Not Silence the Tamils

Feb 17 (FI) Madam Chairman, my dear brothers and sisters! Closing in on the psalmist’s three scores and ten years, age wise many of us are legacies from the past. As a student and then even as a young legal practitioner at the time Senator Tiruchelvam was a Minister, I remember myself firmly believing that the future of this Country was going to be all rosy and happy. The tomorrow was going to be better than the today of those yesteryears, I thought. more..

High casualties for both parties in Wanni operation

Feb 17 (LG) It was about a month back the Sri Lanka Army officially started the operation to capture LTTE strongholds in the Wanni heartland. The operation, involving 5 divisions fighting along five major battle fronts, has slowly but surely made inroads to LTTE controlled territory in Mannar, Vavuniya and Weli Oya. The operation is still in its first phase and small attack teams comprising of specialized infantry (SI) have been carrying out most of the limited missions. more..

India's covert role in CFA

Feb 17 (LG) Now that Sri Lanka has jettisoned the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the LTTE , one of India's best kept secrets can be revealed: it was New Delhi that quietly authored the process that led to the Norway-brokered pact. The dominant thinking in India and Sri Lanka, and even elsewhere, is that New Delhi has been a distant watcher to the goings on in the war-hit island barring its interactions with Colombo and countries like Norway as part of a "hands off" policy sparked off by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's 1991 assassination. more..

The Sinhalese and Tamils are natural blood brothers

Feb 17 (LG) To the liberal minded person the entire earth is one family. These noninterventionist words were scripted in the Mahabharata over 5000 years ago in the afterglow of a war between two Indian factions of blood-cousins, intent on securing the authority of a throne. Over five millennia later, science has just established that man from his origin in Africa dispersed to the four corners of this planet (except Neanderthal man who died out in Europe 30,000 years ago). more..

Moon's Envoy to Visit Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (LG) UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Angela Kane is to visit Sri Lanka as the representative of U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as civilian casualties due to the escalation of violence and military operations are on the increases. She will be having discussion with the country’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapakse and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse from the government side, and more..

Sangaree says will not replace Mervyn: ready to consider north governor post

Feb 17 (LD) Tamil United Liberation Front leader V. Anandasangaree says that he is not prepared to accept the parliamentary seat that will fall vacant following the resignation of Labour Minister Mervyn Silva. The TULF leader was responding to a query from 'Lanka Dissent' regarding reports that he is to be appointed a National List MP by the government, once Silva resigns from his ministerial and MP positions. more..

170 Tamil PCs recruited for Eastern Province

Feb 17 (GDI) One-hundred-and-seventy Tamil police constables have been recruited from the Eastern Province since the region was liberated from the grip of the LTTE last year with the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police North and East region and the Commandant of the Special Task Force Mahinda Balasooriya taking the salute of the new police personnel at a colourful parade at the Kalladi Police Training School grounds yesterday (16). more..