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'Military thinking' of govt. cannot help resolve problem -TNA

Feb 1 (Island) So, the 13th amendment never came up in the APRC. The 13th amendment was something President Rajapaksa clung to as a last straw because he was not able to come up with a set of political proposals, which the international community was insisting he must do. Therefore, the 13th amendment is no interim or final solution to the Tamil question and can never be acceptable. Even when it was passed way back in 1987, the 13th amendment was not seen by the "authentic and original TULF" as an answer to the ethnic conflict on account of its deficiencies. more..

Rajarata University UNP group set upon by JVP U’grads

Feb 1 (Island) The UNP led undergraduates front of the Rajarata University claimed that thugs of the JVP-led undergraduates front had assaulted them when they were protesting opposite the university on Tuesday (29). But the JVP group and the University administration denied it. Chairman of the National Youth Front of the UNP, Kurunegala District MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the JVP and their student front had become bankrupt politically. more..

No arrests yet in journalist assault case

Feb 1 (DM) Police informed the Colombo additional magistrate that criminal force had been used on a Thinakaran journalist for publishing a news item about a Wellawatte businessman. According to the report filed by the Maligawatte Police before the Colombo Additional Magistrate Manjula Thilakaratne, they had received a private telephone call as well as a call from their control room, relating to an incident of stabbing and assault on Monday night at around 8.30 pm. more..

First start work and then we’ll talk: Doctors

Feb 1 (DM) A crucial discussion last afternoon at Peradeniya Teaching Hospital headed by Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage failed to bring doctors and striking nurses to a compromise as both parties took a stern stand on the crisis. Nursing staff numbering about 500 launched trade union action which continued for the sixth day yesterday after a dispute arose with doctors concerning the sharing of a changing room. more..

Pakistan take final courtesy eight-wicket win

Feb 1 (CI) Right from the toss, it was Pakistan Under-19s day as they dismissed hosts Sri Lanka for 131 in 36 overs and proceeded to overhaul their target with eight wickets and more than 21 remaining. Sri Lanka started well after being put in to bat, with Dilshan Munaweera (39) and Dinesh Chandimal (21) added 58 inside ten overs. But Chandimal's dismisssal, caught by wicketkeeper Ali Asad off right-arm medium-pacer Mohammad Rameez, cued the collapse. more..

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka need India's help

Feb 1 (CI) Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman, has revealed his board has no money left and is banking on financial support from India to stay afloat. Ranatunga, who was appointed head of SLC by the country's President Mahinda Rajapakse earlier this month, said the board was surviving on bank borrowings. "We are now surviving on a six-million dollar bank overdraft," Ranatunga told AFP in an interview this week. more..

‘Stud farm owner has terror links’

Feb 1 (HT) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) claims that it has documents revealing links between Pune-based stud farm owner Hassan Ali Khan and Adnan Khashoggi, who used to be a major arms supplier for LTTE. Khashoggi’s name first came up in India during the investigation of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. The ED has made the startling disclosure in an eight-page report, which has been classified ‘confidential’, submitted to the high court on Tuesday. more..

Controversy over truckload of UNICEF biscuits ends

Feb 1 (IRIN) A UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) consignment of high-protein biscuits impounded by police a week ago on suspicion that it was going to the rebel Tamil Tigers has been released today. The detention of the consignment, destined for malnourished children in northern Sri Lanka, came at a time of heightened security and scrutiny in the north as fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers intensified. more..

Sri Lanka won't stop till rebel war ends

Feb 1 (WT) Bloodshed has intensified since the Sri Lankan government scrapped a cease-fire agreement with ethnic Tamil separatists earlier this month, with government officials planning an "all-out" effort to end one of Asia's deadliest civil wars. An aggressive push by government forces over the second half of 2007 forced the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to abandon their eastern stronghold and regroup in the far north of the small war-torn island, where fighting is now concentrated. more..

FTA transforms India-Sri Lanka relations

Feb 1 (IANS) The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka has radically transformed their relationship, replacing mutually debilitating confrontation by peaceful co-existence, trade, investment and tourism. Thanks to the phenomenal successes of the FTA signed in 1998, relations between New Delhi and Colombo have ceased to be overly political. India is no longer a significant player in the bitter ethnic conflict, which is the main political issue in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka says soldiers destroy rebel bunkers as fighting kills 10 rebels, 2 soldiers

Feb 1 (AP) Government troops attacked Tamil rebel bunkers along the front lines in Sri Lanka's embattled north early Friday, triggering a battle that killed 10 guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said. Army troops, backed by artillery and mortars, launched a pre-dawn attack on rebels guarding the front lines in the northern Jaffna Peninsula and destroyed 10 rebel bunkers, said Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, the military spokesman. more..

International action slow to stem Sri Lanka bloodshed: HRW

Feb 1 (AFP) Global concern is mounting over Sri Lanka's worsening human rights record, but action by key international players has been "slow and lacked cohesion," Human Rights Watch said in its annual report. The group said Sri Lanka managed to head off censure in the UN Human Rights Council by agreeing to host UN officials, though Colombo later rejected UN demands for the global body to monitor human rights in the country. more..

Sri Lankan investors on look out for earnings surprises

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's share market closed marginally higher Friday with investors selectively buying stocks expected to report higher quarterly earnings this month, brokers said. The market is now more of an 'event driven' entity, visible from the choppy trading during January this year in comparison to that of last year, because of the uncertain political and economic outlook, analysts said. more..

Sri Lanka cannot be prevented from installing mines: ICG

Feb 2 (PTI) Amidst protests by Indian fishermen against the planting of mines along the maritime border by Sri Lankan Navy, Coast Guard today said the island nation could not be prevented from installing such devices to ensure the security of their territory. The Commanding Officer of the Indian Coastguard Station at Mandapam, Commander K Janarthanan said: "how can we prevent them from planting mines, when they have got every right to make their country secure in whatever way they desire". more..

Congress demands round-the-clock surveillance against LTTE

Feb 2 (PTI) The Congress, a key ally of the ruling DMK, today demanded in the Tamil Nadu Assembly a round-the-clock surveillance system to check infiltration of LTTE cadres into the state. "Put in place a stringent 24 hour surveillance system so as to thwart any infiltration bid by LTTE into Tamil Nadu," party Whip in teh Assembly S Peter Alphonse said speaking on the debate on motion of thanks to the Governor's address to the Assembly. more..

Sri Lanka's cloves may cost cheaper this year

Feb 2 (PTI) India should be able to import cloves from Sri Lanka at cheaper rates as the island nation is likely to witness higher production of the commodity. India is virtually the only importer of cloves from Sri Lanka and higher production prospects in the island nation would be beneficial for it as the commodity would become cheaper. Clove production in Sri Lanka is estimated to go well over 2,000 tons during this year. more..

Colombo drives for victory over Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (VS) The Sri Lankan army claimed Thursday to have pushed through two Tamil Tiger defensive lines in what has become an all-out government drive for victory in the civil war that has raged for 25 years. At the beginning of January the Colombo government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced its formal withdrawal from the 2002 ceasefire agreement brokered by Norway. Rajapaksa called the ceasefire "non-functioning" and a "mere scrap of paper" that had "failed to bring peace to the country." more..

Public-private ventures in Sri Lanka could be lucrative, but pose risks

Feb 2 (LR) Public-private partnerships (PPP) appear to be a lucrative option for cash-strapped states to attract private investment for large-scale projects without burdening taxpayers. But Sri Lanka’s recent experience with two such PPP projects – SriLankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Telecom – raise several burning questions about the viability of the PPP strategy in Sri Lanka, underscoring that there are risks involved in such ventures. more..

We were always going to play: Jayawardene

Feb 2 (ABC) The Sri Lankan cricket captain has denied his team planned to pull out of the one day triangular series if the racial vilification ban imposed on Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was not dropped. It was reported the Indian team had chartered a flight out of Australia and Sri Lanka was also planning to leave if the ban was upheld. But Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene says that is not the case. more..

Sri Lanka’s underwater defence systems- killing two birds with a single stone?

Feb 2 (TC) The news paper reports on 23rd January 2008 about the installation of the “Underwater defence systems” in Sri Lankan waters is indeed an interesting phase in the fight against the Sea tigers soon after the abrogation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). As reported in the press, Sri Lankan authorities/Navy have informed their counterparts about the measures to safeguard their interests as well as to prevent large-scale movement of the Sea tigers who are starved of essentials. more..

Ethnos or Demos? Questing Tamil nationalism

Feb 2 (GV) As the major military onslaught against the LTTE gathers pace to the accompaniment of increasingly jingoistic rhetoric of ruling party politicians, bureaucrats and military top brass, Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka finds itself at a critical crossroads. What may or may not happen in the battlefield this year is still a matter of conjecture, in spite of the bellicose rhetoric of both parties. more..

Travels in a Militarised Society - 3

Feb 2 (GV) In Bambalapitya, I am texting a friend while crossing the road. A man in a new military uniform I did not recognise accosts me, “What are you texting?” “I’m just texting one of my friends.” “Show it to me. I want to see that.” I smile, “Okay, you can read it,” and hold out my phone to him. I notice how young he is, with just a small show of adolescent fuzz above his lip. “And what’s in your bag?” “My laptop.” “Can you switch on your laptop?” “Yes.” more..

A man allegedly assaulted due to a private by the police

Feb 2 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the assault of a man by the Tissamaharama police on 29 December 2007. The police severely assaulted him before taking him to hospital. At the police station, the police forced him to sign a statement and later falsely charged him with possession of illegal substances (drugs). Magistrate released him on bail but failed to investigate the alleged torture and fabricated charges. more..

Episcopal Relief and Development responds to civil unrest

Feb 2 (EC) Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is providing emergency assistance to communities in Sri Lanka affected by ongoing civil unrest. At least 55 people were killed over the past weekend in the latest clash in a civil war that has been waging between the Sri Lankan Military and Tamil Tiger rebel forces since 1983. In January, the government formally pulled out of a 2002 cease-fire due to a recent escalation in violence. more..

New appointments as FM away

Feb 2 (BBC) The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has appointed three new Heads of Mission while the Foreign Minister was on an official tour in Pakistan. Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopullai who was appointed as the acting Minister for Foreign Affairs confirmed that three new appointments were made on Friday. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was in Pakistan as new heads of mission for Australia, Canada and United Nations (new York) were made by the President. more..

An agreement to fight some more

Feb 2 (LG) Sri Lanka’s descent into a sorry state of war has not been a source of great concern within the country. Indeed, many outsiders are more worried than Sri Lankans themselves about the inevitably destructive consequences of the intensifying war. Outside observers have been warning that there is no military solution to the ethnic conflict, that the war will produce only losers, and that an escalation will only further intensify the deepening humanitarian crisis. more..

Sri Lanka oil block nearest to India is hot property

Feb 2 (LBO) An oil exploration block nearest to India off Sri Lanka's northwestern coast has become hot property with three petroleum firms chasing after it, the petroleum ministry said. The southernmost block of the three offered by Sri Lanka in the Mannar Basin, stretching from the coast to the maritime boundary with India, had only attracted one bid when bids closed Thursday. more..

Dayan Jayatillaka appointed coordinator of Disarmament Conference

Feb 2 (GDI) The ‘Conference on Disarmament’ (CD) has appointed Dr. Dayan Jayatillake, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nation in Geneva, as Coordinator for the ‘Comprehensive Programme of Disarmament’ by the President of the Conference on Disarmament. The Permanent Representatives of Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Japan and Senegal were also appointed Coordinators for the subjects of "Cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament", more..

“Unity among Three Forces and Police” key to victories against LTTE: Navy Commander

Feb 2 (AT) The Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda appearing in the Independent Television Networks "Thulawa" live TV interview telecasted on Thursday (31) expressed his views and opinions on the present conflict and the role played by the Navy in eradicating LTTE terrorism. He pointed out that the LTTE did enhance their military capabilities during the CFA making the Trincomalee harbor vulnerable for tiger long range fire. more..

Grand Independence Day celebration in Tamil Nadu

Feb 2 (AT) For the first time Sri Lanka’s 60th Anniversary of Independence is due to be celebrated on a grand scale in South India by the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai this year. The celebrations on 4th February 2008 is expected to commence in the morning with the offering of ‘Heel Dana’ to the members of the ‘Maha Sangha’ after which the Flag hoisting ceremony at the Chancery premises will commence. more..

Army Riding High

Feb 2 (SLW) The Sri Lanka Army is currently training around 31,000 personnel, of whom 28,000 are new recruits to various regiments of the Army. The Sri Lanka Military Academy in Diyatalawa is currently training intake 62 of the Army’s Officer Cadets who will soon pass-out as Second Lieutenants. One regiment which has received the most attention from both serving officers and new recruits is the Special Forces Brigade. more..

Security in Colombo tightened ahead of independence day

Feb 2 (SLW) With only three more days to go for the Independence day, security in Colombo has been beefed up significantly. A large number of troops from the Army, Air Force, Police and the Police Special Task Force (STF) have been deployed in the City of Colombo fearing LTTE attacks to disrupt the proceedings of the independence day. Military Intelligence had previously warned about possible LTTE attacks during this period targeting both military and civilian targets in the south. more..

Doctors on the warpath

Feb 2 (LG) In Plato’s (427-347 BC) political and philosophical treatise, the ‘Republic’, the following observation about ideal physicians is made: ‘It is true enough of physicians that the ablest might prove to be men who, from childhood up, besides mastering their profession, had been in contact with the largest number of the worst cases, and moreover were not of a robust constitution and had themselves suffered from every malady.’ more..

Christians, crucifixion of Jesus and crime of torture

Feb 2 (LG) The central symbol of Christianity is the figure of a tortured man. For Christians, the crucifixion of Jesus is both a historical and sacred event. While Christians mourn the death of Jesus on Good Friday, it is the sacred character and purpose of his death that absorbs their attention and fills them with gratitude: it was a necessary the price that had to be paid to redeem humankind from the clutches of Satan. more..

Democracy and Catholicism

Feb 2 (LG) The Catholic Church did not form itself. It was established by Christ who gave the laws and the constitution before summoning mankind to join it. The faithful are a new creation. The Catholic Church is therefore a unique organisation where the head existed before the existence of the members and authority prior to the community. Any view that sees the Catholic church conceived in a democratic fashion or based on public opinion whether they be that of bishops or priests or laity is false. more..

Should Buddhists be vegetarians?

Feb 2 (LG) All Buddhists are expected to observe the five precepts. Out of these, when we observe the first precept, we promise not to take the life of any living being and not to harm any such being. It is guise clear that we cannot consume flesh without someone else killing the animals for us. If we do not consumer meat or meat products, there will be no killing of animals. The first precept is an injunction against destroying life and hurting others. more..

Is Britain a friendly country?

Feb 2 (LG) The Sunday newspapers were not optimistic about the proscription of the LTTE in the UK. The UK 2000 Terrorist Act gives powers to the government to ban international terrorist organisations though the organisations have not resorted to terrorism in the UK. Under the act, as Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamer had said in the interview he had given to news media, the LTTE can be banned in the UK. In other words the LTTE satisfies the criteria given in the act, to be named as a terrorist organisation. more..

The India-Sri Lanka strategic relations

Feb 2 (LG) In keeping with the developments mentioned in the first part India's strategic interest in Sri Lanka has been enlarged to protect and project India's strategic and economic interests by building strong bonds with Sri Lanka. India has developed strong trading links with Sri Lanka. It is poised to become $5 billion by the year 2010 as the FTA between the two countries is being given more form and content. more..

Sri Lanka and Malaysia team up against money laundering, terror finance

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has tied up with Malaysia's central bank to combat cross-borer money laundering and terrorist finance, the Central Bank said. The FIU which is operated by the central bank here has signed an agreement with Bank Negara Malaysia to share information. "Sharing vital information facilitates the investigation and prosecution of persons suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing activities..," more..

Fresh Objections Filed in Rizana’s Case

Feb 2 (AN) A senior Sri Lankan aide visiting the Kingdom on Thursday said that the lawyers have filed fresh objections to the appeal against the judgment in the case of Rizana Nafeek who was sentenced to death by a three-member bench in the Dawadmi high court. Rizana was convicted of murdering an infant while under her care by a high court in Dawadmi on June 16. She says that the infant choked during feeding. more..

“Self-evident” truths on Tamil statehood: a reply to Bruce Fein

Feb 2 (ML) A 1972 Harvard law graduate, Bruce Fein (BF), in an article published in the Washington Times (WT) on January 29, 2008, prods the United States and its president “to recognize the right of the “long oppressed” Tamil people to independent statehood from the racial supremacist Sinhalese.” BF is no ordinary citizen. He co-founded the NGO called American Freedom Agenda (AFA) in March 2007 to fight against the government intrusions on American civil liberties. more..

CFA flawed and therefore doomed to be unsuccessful – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Feb 2 (GDI) Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, briefing a gathering of over 45 diplomats, officials of international organizations, civil society representatives and media personnel in Geneva yesterday (31), said that the Norwegian brokered Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) sorely lacked key characteristics of successful CFAs. He explained the history of the CFA stating that it was signed by the LTTE and the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe but more..

20 Killed in Sri Lanka Bus Blast

Feb 2 (AP) A bomb tore through a packed bus carrying civilians Saturday in central Sri Lanka, killing 20 people and wounding 50 others, the military said. The blast inside the bus occurred at 7 a.m. in Dambulla, a town about 90 miles northeast of the capital, Colombo, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara, blaming separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. The bus traveling to the northcentral town of Anuradhapura was stopped in Dambulla when the blast occurred, Nanayakkara said. more..

Sri Lanka can stop inflation with currency board: Steve Hanke

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka could end inflation by adopting a working exchange rate system and a credible external anchor in the form of a currency board, a top international monetary economist has said. In 2007 Sri Lanka's official inflation hit 18.8 percent despite a target of single digit inflation based on reserve money programming. However, the index that the target was originally based on grew only 16.4 percent. more..

CPC insurance cover offered to Harry J. without tender - Ravaya

Feb 2 (LD) The insurance cover for the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has been offered to Sri Lanka Insurance (SLI) owned by Harry Jayawardena without calling for tenders, ‘Ravaya’ reports. CPC chairman Asantha de Mel has confirmed to the weekly tabloid that directors of the state-owned corporation have made the decision, which would now be sent for cabinet approval. When contacted, Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie has said that after he receives the proposal, he would place it before the ministers. more..

One-fifth of east candidates given police protection

Feb 2 (LD) More than one-fifth of the candidates in the local government polls in eastern Batticaloa district have been given police protection after requests, a spokesman for the Police Elections Secretariat said. According to him, 147 candidates so far have been provided with two policemen each. Among them are 36 from the UPFA, 18 from the SLMC and 52 independent candidates. more..

“Hiru Sandu Arana”

Feb 2 (LD) “Hiru Sandu Arana” is a variety show by President’s Counsel and politician Wijayadasa Rajapaksha to reach out to society in a different way. The show will mark the launch of eight books, the audio CD “Hiru Sandu Arana”, the short film ‘Agnidesh’ and the personal website of Wijayadasa Rajapaksha. The books include a novel “Sudu Pawada” two collections of poetry - “Sanhinda Pamula” and “Beyond the Horizon”, four volumes on the Law of Property and a book on Case Law on Civil Procedure Code. more..

Dambulla blast: 7 victims yet to be identified

Feb 2 (GDI) Eighteen (and not twenty as earlier reported) people have died in the Dambulla bomb blast this morning and 93 have received treatment for injuries sustained, confirmed Sudharshana Adhikari, the Medical Director, Dambulla Hospital. He added that of the dead 11 persons have been identified by relatives. Seven bodies remain in the hospital morgue. Sixteen of the dead have been women. Twenty five women and 12 men are receiving hospital treatment, he further said, elaborating that they are now out of danger. more..

President condemns LTTE's latest act of savagery, appeals for calm

Feb 2 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa vehemently and unequivocally condemned the LTTE attack ona civilian bus this morning. The full text of the President's message is as follows: I vehemently and unequivocally condemn this latest act of savagery by the LTTE in carrying out the blast in a civilian bus at Dambulla today. Among those killed and injured were many women pilgrims on their way to Anuradhapura to participate in a Buddhist ceremony. more..

SCOPP Chief holds wide ranging discussions in Geneva

Feb 2 (GDI) The Secretary General of the Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) in Sri Lanka, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha was in Geneva this week to participate in a discussion on Sri Lanka after the Ceasefire which was designed to brief the international community about recent developments in the country. He held a number of meetings with ambassadors and officials engaged with Sri Lanka, including H.E. Mr. Doru Romulus Costea, President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ms. Bente Angell Hansen, Ambassador of Norway, more..