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Ganeshan asks for roadworthy backup vehicle

Feb 25 (LD) In a letter to the IGP Victor Perera, parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan requests a replacement for his present security backup vehicle that was given to him following an interim order of the Court of Appeal. Pointing out that the trooper vehicle, which has faulty brakes, cannot safely speed over 40kmph, the letter adds that the rear locks and the side windows cannot be opened easily, let alone in an emergency. more..

UNP to hold weekly briefings on Wanni situ

Feb 25 (LD) The UNP is planning to hold weekly news briefings to raise public awareness on the actual situation in the Wanni warfront, a top media official of the Opposition Leader's Office told 'Lanka Dissent.' The UNP has taken the decision following pleas by the next of kin of soldiers who die or disappear during the ongoing military thrust in the Wanni, as the government was withholding the actual casualty numbers and was also gagging the media against exposing the truth, he said. more..

150,000-strong civil defence force against bomb threats in south

Feb 25 (LD) The government has decided to set up a new civil defence force (CDF) with a 150,000 membership to protect schools and public transport from bomb threats. The new setup will strengthen the responsibilities of the now existent civil defence committees (CDC), and each village will contribute 10 civilians towards the new effort, coordinator of the CDC, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, has told the media. more..

Police clueless over 214 abductions in Colombo - CMC

Feb 25 (LD) Police are clueless over 214 incidents of abduction in Colombo city and suburbs since November 2006, the Civil Monitoring Committee charges. Ninety nine per cent of victims of these kidnappings are Tamils living in the same areas, a CMC spokeswoman said today (Feb.25th). The committee says that it has the names, the national identity card numbers and other information of the abducted people. more..

Industrial Development prime factor in economic growth

Feb 25 (GDI) The industrial sector which employees 24% of the workforce and contributes 27% of the Gross National Product (GNP) has generated a production value of Rs. 245,931 million in the year 2006, according to ministry sources. Industrial products which represent 78% of Sri Lanka's exports have achieved a growth rate exceeding 6% during the past few decades and in view of reducing to the minimum the continuous cost of imports, more..

Another bogus charity in UK to fund LTTE

Feb 25 (GDI) Having failed in an attempt to raise funds for the LTTE terrorist outfit through a mega musical show, LTTE sympathizers in London at now planning a lesser version, it is reported. The show is been organized by an outfit that calls itself ‘Tamil Youth Organization’ (TYO), a front organization that has been raising funds for the LTTE terrorists internationally. more..

Vigilance on surroundings best strategy against terrorism -- Dulles

Feb 25 (GDI) "The best strategy against terrorism is the people's vigilance on surroundings, through which terrorist designs could be prevented," said the Minister of Transport, Dullas Alahapperuma, addressing a ceremony in Colombo yesterday (24th). He added that the Security Forces are fulfilling their duties to their best, but pointed out that the people also had a responsibility to exercise vigilance about suspicious objects and persons. more..

Further measures to create awareness on security

Feb 25 (GDI) Further steps to create awareness among bus commuters on the current security measures will be taken by Police. Accordingly, a special cassette has been produced by the Kelaniya Police in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The cassette contains instructions for commuters on how to be vigilant about suspicious persons and objects as well as descriptions of crimes typically committed by terrorists. more..

Treatment Clinic to counter spread of renal diseases

Feb 25 (GDI) The Ministry of Heath is to take steps to establish a Renal Treatment Clinic at the Nikawewa Peripheral Hospital in the Wayamba Province, with the aim of countering the rapid increase in the incidence of renal disease in the Wayamba, Uva and North Central provinces. The foundation stone for the new ward complex and clinic costing Rs. 4.5 million was laid last week by the Minister of Health, Nimal Siripala De Silva. more..

NTPC to stamp deal for Lankan project

Feb 25 (GDI) The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board are planning to enter into an agreement on a 50:50 basis for a proposed 500MW power project in Sri Lanka early this year. The project is expected to cost $ 500 million. A feasibility study would be carried out and a report ready by April 2008 to be followed by the signing of the power purchase agreement in August 2008. The main plant contract will be awarded in June 2009. more..

Democracy in North and East soon – President pledges

Feb 25 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing a special meeting of the SLFP District and Electoral organisers at Temple Trees on Friday (22), said that with the local government elections scheduled to be held in Batticaloa soon efforts will be made to bring democracy to the entire Northern and Eastern provinces. The SLFP's plans for 2008, the Government's future development plans, inclusive of the East and the consolidation of civil security were discussed at more..

Fate of Muslims and Sinhalese inside a Separate State does not Concern Bruce Fein

Feb 25 (AT) In an open letter to Attorney Bruce Fein, Attorney for Tamils for Justice, Rizana Gazzali reminds him that since the 1980s, the LTTE has systematically resorted to ethnic cleansing of Sinhalese and Muslims from the Northern Province, so that a province which had a significant mix of the communities in its demographic composition, is now mono-ethnic, comprising only Tamils. more..

Sweat the small stuff

Feb 25 (CI) Thankfully the IPL auction has not been a distraction for the Sri Lankans. Of course, some of us figured in the auction but the overall focus of the team has always remained the CB Series. Unfortunately, though, we seem to have faltered on certain fronts in our campaign. People might just be wondering what has happened to the team that reached the World Cup final. The only thing that has changed from then is, we are not functioning well as a batting unit, and some of the players are a bit low on confidence - though no one is out of form. more..

SL-Iran ties unfettered by UN sanctions

Feb 25 (SAMN) Despite growing international pressure on Iran including the imposing of sanctions, Foreign Ministry Secretary, Dr. Palitha Kohona insists it would not have a bearing on the strong ties built between Iran and Sri Lanka especially after the recent visit to Teheran by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Iran is one of our oldest friends. It is the main supplier of crude oil to Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan dentists go green

Feb 25 (SAMN) More than 100 dental clinics in Colombo will participate in a “Go Green” project aiming for zero environmental effect from dangerous dental waste. Amalgam separators will soon be installed at the clinics collecting 99 per cent of the amalgam which contains mercury. Sweden Recycling AB, a Swedish environmental oriented company, with financial assistance from the Swedish organisation SIDA, is spearheading this project, making Sri Lanka the first country in Asia to move towards a safe recycling of dental dangerous waste. more..

Govt. fishing for more UNP MPs

Feb 25 (SAMN) Rejecting a recent UNP claim that the government would go for a snap general election, political sources said the SLFP-led ruling coalition was busy strengthening its parliamentary group. Sources said the government already has a commanding lead with another UNP National List MP Vadivel Puththirasigamoney joining the Rajapaksa administration as the Deputy Justice and Law Reforms close on the heels of Reggie Ranatunga replacing dissident Sripathy Sooriyarachchi’s vacancy. more..

‘Politicos working against Chintanaya’

Feb 25 (SAMN) A powerful politician of the North Western Province was behind the illegal filling up of paddy fields at Nawinna, Kurunegala adjacent to the Kurunegala government hospital, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said. He said that project was against the Mahinda Chinthna. He accused the Agrarian Services and Agriculture Department of turning a blind eye to the politician’s action as they were powerless to intervene. more..

High tech reaches zenith

Feb 25 (DN) Sri Lanka’s high tech electronics industry has entered a new era with 30 per cent growth. This will create ample opportunities of having linkages with the growing Indian electronics sector, President of the Sri Lanka Electronics Manufacturing and Export Association, Merric Gooneratne said. “We have a unique opportunity for establishing linkages with the growing Indian electronics industry. Since Chennai is developing as the global centre for excellence in automation industry,” more..

Scheme to guide handicapped university students

Feb 25 (DN) The Alumni Association of the University of Colombo launched its 'Friend and Guide' scheme recently to help physically handicapped students in the University. Accordingly, 27 visually impaired students of the Arts Faculty were handed over educational aids such as voice recorders and stationery by the Friend and Guide Scheme. Under this scheme, host families in Colombo were linked with deserving undergraduates who are not only economically disadvantaged but also challenged by life in Colombo. more..

No takers for over 100,000 jobs -Athauda

Feb 25 (Island) Although there are around 100,000 jobs in the agriculture, plantation apparel sectors the present generation has shown a deep reluctance to such sectors because they consider these jobs are menial and not accepted socially. The time has come to dispel such fallacies, Labour Relations and Human Resources Minister Athauda Seneviratne said at the anniversary of the Biyagama Rotary Society held at Kiribathgoda Shara hotel recently. more..

Invaluable artefacts unearthed at Abhayagiriya

Feb 25 (Island) Several rare artefacts have been unearthed from the Anuradhapura historical Abhayagiri stupa site. They were found stored in two caskets. A marble statue of the Buddha flanked by Maithree and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattas was of immense archaeological value, Anuradhapura Abhayagiri Expansion Programme’s Archeological Director Prof T. G. Kulatunge told The Island. more..

Ranil wants to solve grievances of spectacle group

Feb 25 (DM) Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed the party’s Local Government Committee Chairman, Vajira Abeywardene and Colombo District Leader, Ravi Karunanayake to look into the grievances of former UNP Colombo Municipal Councillors who emerged victorious after contesting under the spectacle group at the local government election in 2006. According to reliable sources, Mr. Wickremesinghe had given this assurance when the former councillors met him last Friday. more..

UNP, SLMC complain to IPU over HR

Feb 25 (DM) The UNP and SLMC complained about the alleged human rights violations affecting their members and discrepancies in investigations into the killing of MP T.Maheswaran, to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) delegation on Saturday. UNP provincial councillor Sujeewa Senasinghe took up the incident of Maheswaran’s killing with the IPU, and said his party was not satisfied with the manner in which investigations were being carried out. more..

The Govt turns its’ back on fishermen

Feb 25 (AN) Over 10 thousand Sri Lankan fishermen, a large slice of the national economy, are suffering because of Government policies. The warning comes from Premasiri Manage, a member of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a party that contributed to the rise to power of current president Mahinda Rajapakse. The politician, who is also a member of the All Island General Fisheries Federation, explained the problem during a press conference held in Colombo on February 22nd. more..

U19 World Cup: New Zealand too good for Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (CI) An inspired opening spell from Tim Southee, followed by three wickets from left-arm spinner Nicholas Beard, helped New Zealand bowl out Sri Lanka for 110 to claim an 80-run win in their quarter-final clash at the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur. Sri Lanka's openers, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dilshan Munaweera, were in the process of laying a platform before Southee bowled Thirimanne (20) to end their 32-run stand. more..

Selection dilemmas ahead of crunch clash

Feb 25 (CI) It's a face-off that both India and Sri Lanka could have avoided, but they have only themselves to blame for turning their final encounter of the CB Series into a virtual semi-final for one and knockout for the other. Despite holding the edge on at least one occasion against Australia, both teams would envy Ricky Ponting's men letting their hair down at tomorrow's Allan Border medal presentation while they get into a dogfight at the Bellerive Oval. more..

Colombo Told to Seek Clemency for Rizana From Baby’s Family

Feb 25 (AN) A top Saudi official has asked the Sri Lankan government to appeal directly for a pardon to the family of the baby allegedly killed by a Sri Lankan maid. Prince Khaled ibn Sultan, assistant minister of defense and aviation for military affairs, made the comments during a meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow 2008, which concluded last week. more..

Sri Lanka state workers demand trebling of festival allowance

Feb 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's powerful state worker unions have demanded a trebling of festival allowances as inflation tipped over 20 percent following loose monetary and fiscal policies in the past year. A grouping of 40 state worker unions had demanded that a salary advance for New Year celebrations that fall in April according to a domestic calendar be increased from the current 3000 rupees to 10,000. more..

Sri Lanka says fresh clashes kill 31, most rebels

Feb 25 (Reuters) Twenty-six Tamil Tigers and five soldiers have been killed in fresh clashes in northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Monday, as the reported death toll from renewed civil war steadily climbs. Fighting between the military and the Tigers has intensified since the state formally scrapped a six-year-old ceasefire pact in January, and suspected rebel attacks have spread in the government-held south and are increasingly targeting civilians. more..

Half a million people could be affected by conflict in 2008

Feb 26 (IRIN) The UN and NGOs working in the conflict-ridden north and east are warning of a mounting humanitarian toll in 2008 due to the escalation in hostilities between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE. Agencies should be prepared to assist “up to 500,000 conflict-affected individuals comprising IDPs, returnees and economically affected persons”, according to the Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP) 2008, more..

Sri Lanka activated carbon maker expects stronger US demand

Feb 26 (LBO) Sri Lankan coconut-shell-based activated carbon maker Haycarb expects stronger demand after Europe and the United States slapped anti-dumping duties on Chinese carbons. "We would probably see the effect [of anti-dumping duties] towards the end of the year," Haycarb managing director Ananda Hettiarachchy. It would take time for users to shift from mainly coal-based activated carbon to other types like coconut shell-based products, he said in an interview. more..

Central bank hunts oilmen

Feb 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank plans to hire professionals with expertise in the petroleum industry to support the government's oil exploration and development efforts. It has just advertised for petroleum economists, geophysicists, petroleum geologists and petroleum risk analysts for positions in the central bank's middle management level. Applicants with qualifications in economics and finance, geology, earth sciences and petroleum engineering, could either be Sri Lankan citizens or foreigners and preferably below 45 years. more..

Mangala seeks takeover of Sripathi’s case against SLT share sale

Feb 26 (LD) Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera today (Feb. 25th) requested the Supreme Court permission to proceed with the petition filed by Sripathi Sooriarachchi against the proposed transfer of Sri Lanka Telecom shares. Samaraweera requested the SC panel comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Shiranie Thilakawardena and Andrew Somawansa to make him the replacement petitioner, since the matter is a crucial public matter. more..

Youth 'abducted' in Bandarawela

Feb 26 (BBC) An unidentified group has abducted a young Tamil shop worker in central Sri Lankan town of Bandarawela, activists say. Uva Provincial Councillor Aravinda Kumar told BBC Sandeshaya that the shop worker was abducted by armed men came in a white van on Saturday evening. Sadacharan Thiruarul, 20, was working in Kugan Stores in Bandarawela as the group approached, the Councillor added. more..

Sangaree seeks 'UN intervention'

Feb 26 (BBC) United Nations Security Council should help Sri Lanka government to defeat LTTE from their strongholds, a senior Tamil politician said. TULF leader, V Anadasangaree, told BBC Sandeshaya that the government should take control of Mulativu and Kilinochchi from the Tamil Tigers. The authorities should make sure to "minimise" civilian casualties and seek UN help in capturing the rebel strongholds, he added. more..

Mahinda has trapped Prabhakaran very well: S.B

Feb 26 (CP) Former SLFP heavyweight who crossed over to the UNP, S.B. Dissanayake told THE COLOMBO POST that the only thing that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was doing well is conducting the war against the LTTE. He also stated that the construction of the harbour at Weerawila was a foolish act and that Sri Lanka should always aim to be a service providing country without following the socialist middle path of economy which had failed in other countries. more..

Private universities get mixed public verdict

Feb 26 (CP) The establishment of private universities has become a much debated issue in Sri Lanka. With certain parties vociferously opposing it and others proposing the establishment of private educational establishments, the topic has raged on from the time of the open economy being introduced in the island. At present a number of private educational establishments have mushroomed in Colombo and other cities around the country. more..

Decline of LTTE inevitable, says Jane's Intel. Review

Feb 26 (CP) The northeastern coastline is therefore of huge strategic value to the CITE as it allows maritime access and the use of the Sea Tigers in operations in Jaffna or elsewhere. This is not to say that the Sea Tigers pose a significant threat to the Sri Lankan Navy. Few effective maritime attacks have taken place in the north; the 21 January assault on the MV City of Liverpool, a cargo ship carrying foodstuffs to the Jaffna peninsula, involving five Sea Tiger attack vessels inflicted only minor damage on the ship. more..

No need of APRC if JVP talks only what it wants: Dilan

Feb 26 (CP) UPFA Parliamentarian and non-Cabinet Minister of Justice Dilan Perera, when interviewed by THE COLOMBO POST days prior to his appointment as Port development Minister, said that a Southern consensus in the APRC was there when the JVP and the UNP were participating. He added that the JVP now wanted only its pound of flesh, without bones, like Shylock, while adding that there was no purpose in having the APRC if the JVP only wanted to talk about what it wanted to talk about. more..

Police allegedly assault and fabricate charges against two men

Feb 26 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that police allegedly assaulted two men, which caused that one's tooth to be broken, and detained them in Ahangama police station in Sri Lanka on 5 January 2008. Later, police allegedly fabricated charges against them. They were released on bail. However, no investigation has been conducted into the alleged assault and fabrication of charges by the police. more..

Witness of murder case allegedly harassed and removed from employment

Feb 26 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the authorities at the Negombo Base Hospital have allegedly harassed a women since she reported a suspicious incident of murder to the Negombo police on 12 November 2007. She was transferred from one place to another, and ultimately removed from her employment. She had consistently reported these harassments to the police. However, the police have failed to effectively protect her. more..

Just behaviour and justice in religious conflicts - some concerns

Feb 26 (AHRC) The killing of a Pastor and the serious injury to his wife in Ampara, by unidentified gunmen must be condemned by all true adherents of all religions. This violent act calls for a prompt and impartial investigation by the Police who must deal with the perpetrators under the law. I extend the condolences of our Clergy and Congregations to the Pastors family and pray for a speedy recovery for his wife. more..

Sri Lanka Chillies winner seeks international spotlight

Feb 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Triad Advertising says it will seek international recognition after winning the only gold at this year's 'Chillies' ad awards, while a top agency boycotted a post-event media conference. Triad topped the tally for the third consecutive year. The agency won gold under the integrated communications category for a piece named "art against garbage" produced for Environmental Foundation, a charity. more..

An (Im)Balance of Power

Feb 26 (SLW) The LTTE's strength in numbers is a much contested issue of late. It is only appropriate that we at DefenceWire contribute our analysis and information regarding the topic. The Commander of the Army claimed the man/woman-power of the Tigers was around 5000. He was referring to the hardcore fighters. Sources close to the Tigers estimate it at around 25,000. Our estimate is that it has a hardcore fighting force of around 10,000 fighters. more..

The Logic of Change

Feb 26 (LG) A good question to ponder during these Wesak days is whether A=A? To many the answer is obvious and it is an emphatic yes. The whole of western Aristotelian logic depends on this fact and even Buddhists, in general, would not find anything wrong with the answer. However, if one were to analyse the equation one comes across difficulties. When one states that A=A, one assumes that there exists an object (whether Mathematical, Physical, Biological or otherwise) and more..

Gotabhaya sues Lasantha

Feb 26 (LG) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has filed action in the District Court of Mount Lavinia against The Sunday Leader chief editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and Leader Publications Pvt Limited claiming a sum of Rs 1,000 million as damages in respect of an article published in the Sunday Leader of July 15, 2007 under the headline 'MiG deal crash lands on Government.' more..

Sri Lanka asks UN to punish rebels for using Child Soldiers

Feb 26 (BN) Sri Lanka asked the United Nations to freeze funds of the LTTE to punish the group for continuing to use child soldiers in its fight for a separate homeland in the South Asian island nation. "Only targeted measures would deter the LTTE from continuing to perpetrate grave violations against children," Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's UN ambassador, said in a statement published on the government's Web site yesterday. more..

State level injustice towards Rama Mani must be corrected

Feb 26 (TC) The main focus of this article is on the external aspect of the Rama Mani case, more specifically on the damage that it can do to our foreign relations. But it is relevant for my purposes to begin with a brief observation on its internal aspect. Reportedly Ms Mani had received a letter dismissing her with immediate effect from the post of Director at the ICES. more..

Aftermath of Kosovo:Sri Lanka needs dual strategy of “Balance” and “Deterrence”

Feb 26 (TC) The Kosovo debate contains a microcosm of all that is right and wrong about Sri Lankan society. Some argue that in order to avoid a Kosovo outcome, all it takes is to “Just Say No” to the West and the outside world in general, while the others contend that what is needed is to “Just Say Yes”, or in a more nuanced variant, “Never Say Never” to the West (especially to the Big Boys) and the outside world. more..

Higher Education Essential to Progress than Higher Literacy Rates

Feb 26 (FI) It is indeed a pleasure to be here on the occasion of the opening of the Pre-Clinical Building of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya. This building, as the Vice Chancellor mentioned, represents yet another stage of the expansion of the Faculty of Medicine, and the aim is to increase the annual intake which, at present stands at 160. more..