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Tamils were still shut out

Feb 24 (LG) Sri Lankan Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke has put a good but inaccurate face on the Sri Lankan Sinhalese majority's conflict with the Tamil minority ("Tamil homeland fantasy," Commentary, Sunday). First, he says weighting examinations was never intended to discriminate against us Tamils. I took the common Advanced Level exam in 1969 and was admitted to the engineering faculty. more..

Do we now need an APRC at all?

Feb 24 (LG) Soon after the heavily-flawed Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) has been abrogated comes another monster, the APRC. Supposed to be by all the parties, although it leaves out the major parties, the UNP and the JVP, it is in reality the independent proposal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to the information now being revealed. After having got rid of one monster, we are now threatening the country with yet another monster, at a time when we have enough and more troubles already more..

R2P - a bogey or real threat?

Feb 24 (LG) The country's 'thinkers' have been in a state of agitation for some time now. The executive director of a 'think tank' described as being one of the foremost of them all, has been sacked, reinstated and finally sent out of the country. Rama Mani was a lissom woman said to be carrying a terrific intellectual punch. Whatever happened within the confines of the think tank to Rama Mani we do not know but serious allegations have been made. more..

Anandasangaree deplores aerial attack on civilians at Poonakari

Feb 24 (AT) While deploring the aerial attack on Kiranchi, Poonakari, which led to the civilian casualties, V. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF pointed out that LTTE was blood thirsty and is all out to shed innocent blood and what they wanted is a “backlash.” In a statement, Anandasangaree said, I am deeply concerned about the civilian casualties in this aerial attack in which men, women and small children numbering eight were killed and fourteen injured, more..

Two TMVP political activists killed in a suicide attack

Feb 24 (AT) Suicide blast by a suspected LTTE cadre killed two Political activists of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal at Onthachchimadam, located nearly 17 km south of Batticaloa. According to Azad Moulana, TMVP spokesperson, two of their political activists, namely Sutha and Jegan were killed in the blast along with the suspected LTTE suicide cadre. The incident took place today around 9.30 AM, in the morning, on the Batticaloa - Kaluvanchchkudi Road. more..

Reject LTTE gun culture

Feb 24 (LNP) Tamil political parties contesting the forthcoming Local Government polls in the Batticaloa district have called upon voters in the region to reject the LTTE and its `gun culture` to build a civilised society where democracy could prevail. Informed sources told the Sunday Observer that the polls campaign in the district was gathering momentum with posters and cut-outs of the parties in the fray coming up in a big way. more..

Believe it or not!

Feb 24 (LNP) Last week s revelation in parliament that a news conference organized in connection with Livestock Awards Ceremony has cost all of a million rupees will surely merit inclusion in Bob Ripley s "Believe it or Not. Given the way that inflation is galloping with a cup of tea in a boutique costing Rs. 20, a million bucks may be worth less than it seems to be and millionaires today maybe dime a dozen in a country where a laksapathiya merited wide esteem not so long ago. more..

Lankan refugees can open bank accounts

Feb 24 (NIP) Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu can open bank accounts through the Bank of Ceylon’s branch here from February 25. Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commission in Chennai and the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation have made arrangements for the facility, an official release here said. Through Deputy High Commission in Chennai Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan Government have been working closely with each other on many important issues. more..

Mega investment zone in Colombo

Feb 24 (SAMN) A new mega investment zone – slightly bigger in size than Male which is 1.77 sq km or 437.3 acres – is coming up on the fringes of the Colombo harbour with developer John Keells Holdings (JKH) preparing the formalities to sign the relevant agreements with the authorities. Under a public-private partnership, JKH will reclaim and develop 459 acres of land adjacent to the proposed Colombo South Harbour, a top JKH official said. more..

Over 3,000 graduates to receive degrees

Feb 24 (SAMN) More than 3,000 graduates will be awarded confirmation of their degrees at the Annual General Convocation of the University of Peradeniya on March 5.The Chancellor of the University, Dr. Premadase Udagama, will preside. The convocation will be held in two sessions - morning and afternoon because of the large number of recipients of degrees. Prof. Sarath Abeykoon said that an unprecedented number totaling 3,024 will be conferred their degrees. more..

Dead-rope Silva

Feb 24 (SAMN) Controversial parliamentarian and Non-Cabinet Minister Mervyn Silva pulled off another of his antics last week by telling the media he had resigned his seat and was awaiting appointment to the Constitutional Council. Since the media learnt from none other than Silva himself that he was quitting as National List MP, there was no further need for clarification. But the news turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by Silva himself. more..

Fears resurface over power project

Feb 24 (SAMN) The storm raised by the Ceylon Electricity Board engineers over attempts to go ahead with an unsolicited and uncompetitive wind power project in the Puttalam district by an Indian firm may have forced its promoters to shelve it temporarily. The 50 megawatt project controversially approved late last year to be built by Enercon India Power Development Ltd, and more..

Tigers must fall in line first - Jeyaraj

Feb 24 (SO) The charges on bribery and corruption and the waste of public money levelled against the government by the Opposition parties were 'just claims' not with concrete evidence, the Government Whip and the Highways and Road Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said. He said that amidst these baseless charges the Mahinda Rajapaksa government which wowed to end terrorism and to solve the national problem giving more power to provincial councils would remain for its full term. more..

Pollution levy Bill on hold due to TU pressure

Feb 24 (SO) The Environmental Conservation Levy Bill to mitigate global warming, protect wildlife, the fauna and flora and set up a solid waste management system in the country which was scheduled to be presented in Parliament shortly has been put on hold due to Trade Union pressure, Ministry sources said. The new Bill proposes to set up a National Adaptation Fund in keeping with a proposal at the UN Global Climate Change Summit in Bali which called upon countries to adopt mechanisms to face the challenges of global warming. more..

President opens longest tunnel in Ramboda

Feb 24 (SO) The Government of Japan provided 3,078 million Japanese Yen (approximately 3.1 billion Rupees) towards the construction of the Gampola-Nuwara Eliya, Gampola-Nawalapitiya roads and the Ramboda tunnel under its ODA (Official Development Assistance) Loan scheme. The construction work was completed last year and the Ramboda tunnel was opened yesterday. The project named "Road Network Improvement Project" focused on the improvement of 54 km long Gampola-Nuwara Eliya road and more..

Police raid large hooch den

Feb 24 (SO) Police Central Anti Vice Striking Force (CAVSF) raided one of the largest illicit hooch distilleries at Othe Kele-Korara-Eliya, Ja-Ela and detected a large haul of kasippu on Thursday. The haul of Goda and Kasippu includes 405 barrels each containing 45 gallons of Goda (Unlawfully Manufactured Liquor) and 1,170 bottles of Kasippu (Unlawfully Distilled Spirits) and distilling equipment worth over Rs. 22 million. more..

Don't increase electricity' rates, ban late TV shows to save power

Feb 24 (SO) When the Sunday Observer sought the views of the public about the imminent increase in the electricity bill, a female doctor, in a government hospital in the Sabaragamuwa Province, who wish to remain anonymous wanted the authorities not to increase tariff, since it will worsen the living conditions of estate workers, labourers and the majority downtrodden people. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Senevirtane said no fixed percentage in the increase has so far been announced. more..

Heroes avert carnage

Feb 24 (NS) vigilant passenger averted a bloodbath yesterday morning in Mount Lavinia, after he tipped off the bus driver and conductor about a suspicious parcel in a bus from Moratuwa bound for Pettah, which ripped through the bus just minutes after the passengers were evacuated. However, the bomb, which according to the Police was much more powerful than the Dambulla bomb, injured 18, including an eight-year-old child, after exploding at the crowded Mount Lavinia junction. more..

Eyebrows raised over govt-sponsored jaunt

Feb 24 (NS) Scepticism reigns over the government’s decision to sponsor eight Sri Lankan Tamils, now domiciled in Europe, on a week long visit to the island, The Nation learns. The group, which travelled to some parts of the north last week, was however barred from travelling to Batticaloa by the Defence Ministry owing to ‘security concerns.’ “The question posed however was why the group was allowed to go to Jaffna, but not the east, which is supposedly liberated from the LTTE,” more..

CC moves from sublime to ridiculous!

Feb 24 (NS) For some time now, the Constitutional Council (CC) has been in the news and for all the wrong reasons too. Recently, those concerned about the Council were aghast at a story that was doing the rounds: maverick minister Mervyn Silva, it was rumoured, was to be appointed to the Council. Had this come to pass, it would have been a step from the sublime to the ridiculous for the Constitutional Council. more..

Forty trade unions demand Rs. 10,000 as New Year allowance

Feb 24 (NS) The Trade Union Confederation comprising of 40 trade unions in the country has warned President Mahinda Rajapaksa that they would be compelled to take vigorous action against the government and the Treasury if it fails to increase their New Year allowance to Rs. 10,000. The confederation’s General Secretary Saman Rathnapriya said the trade unions had sent a letter requesting the President to increase their New Year allowance from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000. more..

Ford Foundation and Canadian H.C. pushed for Mani’s reinstatement

Feb 24 (Island) The reversal of the decision of the International Center for Ethnic Studies to dismiss Dr. Rama Mani, its executive director, was influenced by requests by the Canadian High Commission and the Ford Foundation, a Parliamentary Select Committee was told last week. ICES Chairman Kingsley de Silva told the committee probing NGOs/INGOs that he received written appeals for the immediate reinstatement of the foreign executive director. more..

Govt. ducking questions on missing Prados says ex-Speaker

Feb 24 (Island) Angered by an increasingly evident tendency by government not to answer embarrassing parliamentary questions, the UNP yesterday accused the government of ducking such questions by asking for unreasonably long time periods to provide the answers. "This has become a despicable practice," former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera told The Sunday Island. A case in point was the government’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of three luxury Prado SUVs belonging to the Bank of Ceylon. more..

The end of devolution

Feb 24 (Island) Last week a meeting of the UNP’s committee on ‘National Policy and Philosophy’ was convened at parliamentarian Ravi Karunanyake’s home. It was attended by Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrema, Tissa Attanayake and Lakshman Seneviratne and it was decided that the views of the public would be sought on the stand the party should take in the future on a whole range of national issues. more..

Rare United Nations honour conferred on SSP Ranjith Gunasekera

Feb 24 (Island) In a remarkable achievement, the senior police official who served as the commander the 13-member Sri Lankan contingent to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in 2007, has been awarded a UN Commendation Certificate for facilitating a longstanding tribal conflict resolution. This rare honour was conferred on Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ranjith Gunasekera by UNMIS Police Commissioner Kai Vittrup in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. more..

JVP-UNP in battle over India

Feb 24 (ST) The ongoing Eelam War IV notwithstanding, some 1,800 policemen and 800 soldiers were deployed to provide security to a gala event, the Carlton Motocross, in the southern city of Tissamaharama for three days beginning February 15.A sprawling 485-acre farmland became a racing track for motor cars and the venue of an exhibition for the Motocross. The highlight was the stalls that represented the military depicting their weaponry and achievements in the war against Tiger guerrillas. more..

Eelam War IV spreads far and wide

Feb 24 (ST) The idyllic snow covered Holmenkollen Park Hotel outside Norway's capital of Oslo, where the Sri Lanka Government and the LTTE once agreed in December 2002 to explore a federal structure to end the ethnic conflict, formed the setting. The temperatures outside dropped to below zero levels. A few days ago, inside a heated discussion room, the spotlight turned to Sri Lanka and the raging Eelam War IV. more..

A country spins out of control

Feb 24 (TS) Sri Lanka is quietly sliding into a humanitarian nightmare. Since the election of the nationalist government of Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005 and the resumption of war against the LTTE late last year, the number of civilian deaths has jumped sharply. In the past six weeks, more than 180 Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese citizens have been killed, many with bullets through their temples. Reprisal targeting of Sinhalese – usually by way of explosives – is on the rise. more..

Details of mine safe areas in Jaffna released

Feb 24 (TN) The coordinating office for the removal of land mines in Jaffna peninsula, situated in Jaffna secretariat, in a communiqué issued Saturday, said mine clearing activities in areas permitted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is nearing completion and released details concerning the areas cleared of land mines. The mine clearing activities were initiated in all areas except those declared either as High Security Zones (HSZ) or war zones and included large tracts of paddy fields and arable high lands. more..

Dr. Mani’s computer taken by CID

Feb 24 (ST) The CID this week took into custody a computer used by Dr.Rama Mani, the former Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), to check the correspondence regarding her advocating of the controversial R2P policy for Sri Lanka. Initial investigations into the files contained in all the other computers at ICES have not found any reference to R2P and hence the CID has now taken Dr.Mani’s computer into its custody. more..

Low quality Indian drug to be destroyed

Feb 24 (ST) More than one million capsules of ‘Salbutamol – used for the treatment of respiratory ailments – are being withdrawn from public hospitals and will be destroyed as they have been found to be of low quality, an official said. The mg capsules were imported from India by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) at a cost of about Rs. 6.5 million, the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division Director Dr. Hemantha Beneragama said. more..

Three die in Sri Lanka blast

Feb 24 (AFP) Three people were killed in an apparent suicide attack in Sri Lanka's restive east Sunday while security forces threw a blanket of security over the capital to prevent new attacks, officials said. A suspected Tiger suicide bomber riding a motorcycle crashed into another motorbike carrying two rival militants in Batticaloa district. "One man detonated the explosive immediately after crashing into the other bike, killing all three of them," more..

Protect civilians: TULF

Feb 25 (Hindu) Amid claims by the military that dozens of LTTE cadre have been killed along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north, two political activists of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikkal (TMVP) were killed in a suicide blast carried out by suspected LTTE cadre in Batticaloa on Sunday. The local bodies’ election to the Batticaloa district are due on March 10 and the TMVP is one of the main contestants. more..

Police 'assault' journalists

Feb 25 (BBC) Police authorities in Sri Lanka say they are investigating an alleged assault on two video journalists by a police officer in Mt. Laviniya. A journalist working for Derana TV, Sugath Dharmadasa, told BBC Sandeshaya that himself and his cameraman were assaulted by the head of Mt. Laviniya police station, Mahesh Perera. The journalists were covering the bomb blast in a bus at Mt. Laviniya on Saturday as HQI Perera approached them, abused and started beating, he added. more..

Sri Lanka Confident of UN Sanctions Against LTTE

Feb 25 (AT) The Sri Lanka government is confident that the Security Council will eventually impose targeted sanctions on the LTTE, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told Asian Tribune. He admitted it is not easy to impose sanctions on such a shadowy group as the LTTE and its leadership. As an example, he cited the bans and sanctions imposed by the US, Canada and the European Union. "But the LTTE and its front organizations still operate with impunity," said Kohona, more..

Chief Female Instructor of the "Kiranchi" Sea Tiger Training Camp among those Killed

Feb 25 (AT) Following the Air Force fighter jet attack on the Sea Tiger Base in Kiranchi, West of Killinochchi around 8.15 in the morning of last Friday (22), naval intelligence uncovered further details regarding the damage to the female sea tiger training base and to the cadres. As per the gathered intelligence, the chief female instructor of the Kiranchi sea tiger training base named Lieutenant Colonel Kalai Arisi, Major Thuwarika and Lieutenant Senthamanai were among the ten (10) sea tiger cadres who were killed more..

Wins for civilians: The crucial third front against terrorism

Feb 25 (LR) On February 23 at Mt Lavinia, the vigilant people of the country prevented another coward attempt of terrorists to disrupt peace in the south. With the timely discovery of bomb in the private bus, Sri Lankan nation has futile second consecutive attempt against us by ruthless LTTE terrorists. The first success was at Anuradhapura when a brave sailor from Sri Lanka navy (who was not on duty by the time) set it by example, identified and diffused a bomb at Anuradhapura market preventing possible dissaster. more..

JVP will resist UNO being used as western colonial proxy – Somawansa Amarasinghe

Feb 25 (LT) “The JVP values the UN for the good it does but will always resist it being used as a Western colonial proxy. We want the UN to stick unwaveringly to its anti-colonial roots,” states a letter sent by Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe, JVP Leader to Ms. Angela Kane, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs in UN. Ms. Angela Kane is in Sri Lanka this week at the request of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and more..

From Kosovo to Colombo?

Feb 25 (LG) The temptation is too high, not to make comparisons between the 'unilateral declaration of independence' (UDI) in Kosovo and the prevailing LTTE posturing in Sri Lanka. Not very long ago, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle claimed that the LTTE would go the UDI way a couple of days after the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal in mid-January. Now after Kosovo, no one should be surprised if the rumour-mill begins over-working on the same score in Sri Lanka, timing it this time around the Tamil New Year in mid-April. more..

Galle Literacy festival and the exit option

Feb 25 (LBO) Reactions to the second Galle Literary Festival that very successfully concluded last month testify to the entrenched strength of statist thinking in this country. It could also be interpreted as more evidence of the pre-eminent role of envy in the Sri Lankan psyche (Rusiyavata vadiya lokui irisiyava as three-wheeler philosophy puts it), but I prefer to focus on the former. The first Galle Literary Festival was held in 2007 January. more..

Military says 40 killed in recent clashes

Feb 25 (AP) Clashes between government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists killed at least 40 combatants across northern Sri Lanka, the military said. Meanwhile, a suspected rebel suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up Sunday in the eastern village of Ondachimadam in Batticaloa district, killing two members of a breakaway rebel faction, the military said. Those killed in the blast were members of the Karuna Group, which broke away from the mainstream LTTE rebel group in 2004, more..

Peace: Facts, myths and history repeating

Feb 25 (LG) Sri Lanka has a recorded history going back to many thousands of years. The inhabitants of the island were known as "hela" who were subsequently titled as Sinhalese. A land mark in our history is the arrival of Arahat Mahinda in the reign of Devanampiyatissa (250-210 BC). It was a visit that changed the destiny of the entire island with the king becoming a Buddhist followed by his ministers and the entire population of the island. more..

Sri Lanka De-Mining Stalled - NGOs

Feb 25 (RO) Increased frequency in clashes between Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the forward defence lines (FDL) has resulted in humanitarian de-mining activities in the peninsula slowing down, with the possibility of all related activities coming to a complete halt in the near future, representatives of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Jaffna [northern Sri Lanka] said Saturday [23 February]. more..

MAS ready to empower through education at MIMT

Feb 25 (F2F) MAS Holdings announces the launch of the MAS Institute of Management and Technology (MIMT), located at the MAS Fabric Park, Thulhiriya. MIMT is a public training institute with exceptional facilities and infrastructure, including a fully equipped auditorium seating 300 people, 17 training rooms with labs for English language, IT, textile processing and sewing machine mechanics and residential facilities for up to 250 people. more..

Anti-Tamil riots of August 1977

Feb 25 (LG) The press recently highlighted the events of Black July '83. The public may have forgotten that there was a similar pogrom against Tamil people at Anuradhapura in August '77. I was witness to this from start to finish and also did my bit to help and rescue Tamil officers. I was Medical Superintendent at the Anuradhapura hospital, my first administrative appointment. Nobody had an inkling of what was going to happen on that calm August morning. Not even the police. more..

Sri Lanka central bank asks for currency note designs

Feb 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has called for public ideas to produce a new series of notes offering cash prizes for winning designs. The monetary authority has so far produced notes under 10 different themes from the time it was created soon after Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain. The first series of notes at time when the then Ceylon was still a dominion in 1951, was issued with the picture of King George the sixth. more..

The Separatist Problem of Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (LG) There are many explanations of, and interpretations given to the separatist problem faced by Sri Lanka. Some are of the opinion that the problem is due to the hegemony of the majority Sinhala people who have not given any solutions to the grievances faced by the Tamils. Some others view it as a terrorist problem created by a group(s) of armed youth. more..

Bruce Fein, LTTE Attorney has Still Not Replied to Asian Tribune

Feb 25 (AT) The Asian Tribune send 25 questions to Attorney Bruce Fein, the moment we heard that he had been retained by the tottering LTTE hierarchy in a new garb calling themselves "Tamils for Justice" to pump new life into the dying movement for an illusive “Eelam”. For reasons known only to Fein, it seems that answers to our questions have been sent to various publications except the Asian Tribune. Bruce Fein repeatedly informed us that he would reply to our questions. more..

Lanka Logistics Secretary appointed to Telecom chair

Feb 25 (LeN) Ms. B. Lisa N. de Silva Chandrasena was appointed the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom since today (25) making history being the first woman to hold the topmost post of the national telecommunication provider. Ms. Chandrasena served as a director of Telecom for three years. Being a lawyer by profession, she worked as in charge of the Human Resources Management section of the Foreign Ministry. more..

Police refuses to accept complaint by TV journalist

Feb 25 (LD) Mount Lavinia Police had refused to take down a complaint by Sugath Dharmapriya, a journalist for Derana TV, that he had been assaulted by the OIC of the same police. The police in question maintained its refusal to accept the complaint against Chief Inspector Mahesh Perera in connection with the incident on February 23rd, according to Dharmapriya. On the advice of DIG (Colombo South) Wickremasinghe, the journalist had then lodged the complaint with the Mirihana Special Crimes Unit. more..