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Sri Lanka’s Constitution-Obstacle to nation building

Feb 26 (FI) Like many deceptive phrases, ‘national integration’ and ‘nation building’ uttered by some political leaders in Sri Lanka at critical times have no practical meaning. For nation building, the entire population must first regard themselves as equal citizens of one country. 60 years of independence have been wasted in internal power struggles losing in the process even the common identity and mutual respect, trust and bond the people of all races had earlier. more..

International response to Sri Lanka war after the end of CFA

Feb 26 (LG) The European Union's decision to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) plus scheme provided for Sri Lanka's exports for another three years from January 2009, despite its adverse reaction to the ending of the ceasefire agreement (CFA) by Sri Lanka government. (The GSP plus concession enables Sri Lanka to export its goods and products to the EU at reduced or exempted tax and duty levies.) more..

UN Role On Case of Child Soldiers in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (LG) First, I would like to convey our appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, for the leadership you and your country have been providing to the issue of children and armed conflict. I thank other members of the Working Group for working diligently for the shared objective of bringing an end to the detestable practice of recruitment and use of children by armed groups. more..

“The concept of Tamil "Eelam" is thus very different from the concept of an independent Kosovo”

Feb 26 (LG) Kosovo is no more a part of Serbia and has become a free state. Nation after nation have begun to recognize this new status. This development has become a popular news story throughout the world and questions have begun about how this would influence various liberation movements, and in the case of Sri Lanka, the LTTE. more..

Who made this?

Feb 26 (LG) Half of the LTTE’s weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, have been left in the unidentified category. A grenade launcher is one example in the unidentified weapons category. A grenade launcher is a highly effective ‘direct-fire’ infantry weapon system against personnel and light-vehicles. It is believed that the LTTE is operating more than ninety 40mm grenade launchers. more..

The (faulty) arithmetic of federalists

Feb 26 (SLW) Recently I read an article by one Rohini Hensman who claimed that ‘tens of thousands of Tamils had been killed in July 1983’. Even the most passion-swelled number does not exceed 3000 and this is a fraction of the total number of Tamils living in the areas where the violence took place. The vast majority that survived those dark days survived in part because Sinhalese intervened, not because all Sinhalese are non-racist more..

Time has come to build Muslim state! – SLMC

Feb 26 (LT) Muslims in the Eastern Province are confronted with many issues, they could be resolved only in an Islamic state and at the moment moves are being carried out to establish such a state says SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem. Mr. Hakeem made these observations at a ceremony held to celebrate the 75th birthday and 60 years of political life of former senator and senior politician Alhaj S. Z.S. Mazoor Maulana held at Al-Manar College at Marandamune in Kalmune. more..

Passenger Transport Services Restored to Normalcy in the East

Feb 26 (PISL) The Sri Lanka Transport Board together with the Road Development Authority (RDA) has restored the public transport services in the East to normalcy. This has been achieved by effective clearing operations conducted by the security forces and the rehabilitation of a number of roads by the RDA in most of the areas inter connecting towns and villages. RDA has also reconstructed several bridges which were destroyed by the LTTE, and the ferry service at Verugal-Aru. more..

Sri Lanka should overhaul monetary policy: economist

Feb 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka should overhaul its monetary framework in the light of 20 percent plus inflation as such high levels could only be generated domestically by a central bank, a top Sri Lankan born economist has said. "There is no huge mystery to inflation, and I have run into people here who say they are trying to understand the machine that is creating inflation," Sarath Rajapathirana, a former central banker who worked at the World Bank told MTV's Bizfirst show. more..

Mahinda-Ranil to meet today

Feb 26 (LD) crucial meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will take place at 7.30 pm today (Feb. 26th), reports say. SLFP General Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena, APRC Chairman and Minister Tissa Vitarana and Chief Government Whip and Minister Fernandopulle will accompany the President at the discussion. UNP Chairman Rukman Senanayake and senior lawyer K.N. Choksy are to accompany Wickremesinghe. more..

NPC official hinders media personnel who went to lodge complaint

Feb 26 (LD) Five media organizations lodged a complaint with the National Police Commission this morning (Feb. 26th) regarding the alleged assault on Sugath Dharmapriya, a journalist of Derana TV, by Mount Lavinia OIC Mahesh Perera. K.E. Vamadevan, a Deputy Secretary of the NPC had reportedly interrupted and verbally abused the camera crews of two TV stations who went to cover the event. more..

No possible military solution for Sri Lanka – Indian President

Feb 26 (LD) “We are clear that there can be no military solution to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka,” says Indian President Ms. Pratibha Patil. In her address to the Indian Parliament yesterday (Feb. 25th), President Patil said that “it is necessary to find a negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka that is acceptable to all sections of society.” more..

Big demand for yellow fin tuna fish from Japan and Europe

Feb 26 (GDI) There has been a record demand for Sri Lankan yellow fin tuna from Japan and the European markets during the past three years, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ,Felix Perera, said. A kilogram of yellow fin tuna fish was bought at a price of 500 rupees or more and sometimes it went u to 1000 rupees per kilo. Therefore an entire fish sometimes fetches 80,000 or 100,000 rupees and fishermen could even buy a car with a catch of two or three yellow fin fish, he said. more..

Official language proficiency exam on March 15

Feb 26 (GDI) Department of Official Languages has taken measures to promote the usage and proficiency of official languages among the public officers, the examination will be held on March 15 in Sinhala, Tamil and English mediums. Commissioner, Department of Official Languages Mr. Senarath Gunasena said that admission cards have been duly posted to the respective candidates who have participated in the classes, more..

Island wide waste-management project from next month

Feb 26 (GDI) A new waste management project will be introduced throughout the country by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources from next month. The project, Pilisaru, is based on the capacity building of Local Government authorities with enhanced methodologies to serve in large scale garbage management processes. A workshop was organized to educate the Local Government authorities of Gampaha and Colombo district of the ‘Pilisaru’ waste management project recently. more..

Cheaper Gas for domestic gas market from April

Feb 26 (GDI) Steps will be taken by the Government to introduce cheaper gas with the aim of addressing the agony of the middle class and poorer sector of the population created through the monopoly of the two private sector gas suppliers, Shell and Laugfs, Minister of Petroleum Resources, A. H. M. Fowzie said. The minister said that Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will sell this cylinder at a price lower than the current price in the market. more..

Trade Unionists of yore never resorted to armed struggle -- President

Feb 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid tribute to ten well known trade unionists at a felicitation ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo yesterday (25). Addressing the gathering he stated that the Trade Union leaders had laboured for the betterment of the life of the workers in many fields, fighting for their cause, taking many risks, even being subject to assault and threats on their lives. more..

Collateral damage: Tigers latest weapon

Feb 26 (LNP) TULF President V. Anandasangaree has rightly inveighed against the Sri Lanka Air Force for the loss of civilian lives in some of its airstrikes on LTTE targets in the Wanni. He has drawn the government s attention to a recent air raid on the Kiranchi Sea Tiger base, in which several civilians including children perished in the adjoining areas. The LTTE propaganda machinery has moved into overdrive to have the world believe that the SLAF is deliberately targeting civilians. more..

Police probe death threats to Sri Lankan journalist

Feb 26 (LNP) Police Headquarters has ordered an immediate investigation into a complaint made by The Island Anuradhapura correspondent Cyril Basnayake that he and his family had received death threats, DIG N. K. Illangakone told The Island yesterday (25). Basnayake had complained that the death threats followed a complaint he had made to the Anuradhapura police against a gang of criminal elements who had more..

13 suicide bombers in Batticaloa

Feb 26 (SAMN) Alarm bells have begun ringing for the local government election in Batticaloa following intelligence reports that 13 LTTE suicide cadres had infiltrated the area, police said. This matter was discussed at length at a meeting in Batticaloa Monday with police warning candidates to be extra cautious in the run-up to the March 10 poll. The revelation comes in the wake of a suicide bomber blowing himself up on Sunday killing two TMVP members. more..

Lanka to waive migrant worker visa fees

Feb 26 (SAMN) Sri Lanka in consultation with Arab countries has decided to waive migrant worker Visa fees to further encourage prospective employment seekers in the Middle East and the Asian region. Accordingly Visa fees charged either by the sending country or the receiving country is to be annulled, following a decision taken by member countries at the recently concluded "Colombo process" summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. more..

Peradeniya campus closed indefinitely

Feb 26 (SAMN) Peradeniya University has been closed indefinitely following clashes between two factions of students attached to the Engineering Faculty on Sunday night leaving 15 students injured.The clashes have erupted after a get-together of the students on Sunday night. Out of the 15 students who were injured, 13 have left the hospital by afternoon yesterday while two were receiving further treatment. more..

Govt. hospitals open up to donations

Feb 26 (SAMN) The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK have spearheaded a move to connect government hospitals with public donors via an online donation site “This website has allowed the public to identify specific needs in the hospital and contribute towards procuring medical and non medical items. This is a pragmatic way of supplementing the limited funds provided by the government to improve healthcare services,” more..

Angry crowd sets fire to bus which killed trishaw driver

Feb 26 (DN) A private bus which collided with a three-wheeler on Sunday night killing its driver was set on fire by people in the area. Sisira Samantha, 30, a resident of Anuradhapura town died in the crash. The driver and the conductor fled the scene after the accident, police said. Anuradhapura Traffic Police Palitha Nissanka told the Daily News the accident occurred around 8.00 p.m. on Sunday. more..

Major fire at Ratmalana railway dumping ground

Feb 26 (DN) A major fire broke out yesterday at the dumping ground of the Mechanical Engineering Department yard of the Railways Department in Ratmalana, destroying discarded metals and railway carriages. The fire broke out yesterday around 11.30 am at this massive dumping ground of the Railway Department which extends to over five acres. The dumping ground has been filled with discarded rail lines, rail carriages and more..

'We seem to be making the same mistakes' - Jayawardene

Feb 26 (CI) With their last engagement against Australia only of academic interest now, Sri Lanka are certain fly back home with a feeling of under-achievement, particularly with the bat. Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, said as much after his team suffered a seven-wicket defeat to India in Hobart, ending their hopes of reaching the finals. more..

Water, power, fuel to be regulated

Feb 26 (Island) Bills to regulate public services such as water supply, electricity, petroleum distribution etc. would be presented to Parliament soon, chairman Of the Public Utilities commission, Prof. Priyantha wijetunga said yesterday. He said that a team of eminent international experts on regulatory practices abroad had been nominated by the Asian development Bank to formulate the necessary reforms in public utility services with the advice of local experts in various fields. more..

Defrauding of state funds main obstacle in developing country– JVP

Feb 26 (Island) The misuse and defrauding of State funds was the main obstacle in developing the country, JVP Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Disanayaka told The Island yesterday (25). Instead of taking measures to prevent such malpractices, the government is trying to destabilise state institutions that are established to prevent such acts like the Bribery and Corruption Commission. Although the public did not repose full faith in such institutions, they had some percentage of credibility. more..

US team to inspect seized weapons

Feb 26 (DM) The Anuradhapura Magistrate yesterday granted a request made by a special CID investigation unit to allow the visiting US special investigation team to inspect an assortment of items of Black Tigers seized by the armed forces. The items had been in the possession of the Black Tigers who were killed by the security forces when they attacked the Anuradhapura Air Base on September 22 last year. more..

It’s cool

Feb 26 (DM) The Metrological Department yesterday said the country’s temperature had dropped during the past few days with areas in the Badulla district recording a temperature as low as 10 degrees Celsius. A department spokesman told the Daily Mirror the temperature in the Colombo district early yesterday read as 19 degrees Celsius while the other areas also experienced a cool weather. more..

Sri Lankan gov't hands over bodies of rebels

Feb 26 (Xinhua) At least 14 dead bodies of the LTTE have been handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sri Lanka's north central town of Anuradhapura, officials said Tuesday. Sarath Weerabandara, the director of the General Hospital in Anuradhapura told the media that the bodies were handed over to the ICRC officials who called over at the hospital in the morning. more..

India continues to influence events in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (KT) SINCE the government proposed and accepted the 13th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution as a means to devolve power within a unitary state, India’s interference in the affairs of its southern neighbour is becoming increasingly clear — and even coming under fire. None would dispute the claim that India has a role to play in Sri Lanka’s ethnic crisis. After all, it was India which in the early 1980s trained, armed and financed several Tamil militant groups to fight the Sri Lankan government. more..

Bank of Ceylon helping Sri Lankan refugees secure their future

Feb 26 (Hindu) An unscheduled meeting of the Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Southern India, P.M. Amza with the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR) treasurer S.C. Chandrahasan has changed the lives of several Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu: they can now open savings bank account with Bank of Ceylon (BoC). On Monday, more than 50 members from self-help groups (SHGs) gathered in front of BoC’s Chennai branch to protect their hard-earned money in more..

LTTE front outfit attempts to raise funds in London

Feb 26 (PTI) Unfazed by two flopped attempts, a front organisation of the LTTE is allegedly planning a new show in London to raise funds for the Tiger rebels. The show called 'Illam Kaatru' (Wind of Eelam) is scheduled to be held in the Great Hall in Hatch End in Harrow on March 1 by the Tamil Youth Organisation, which allegedly has links with the banned LTTE, sources said in London on Tuesday. more..

Tyronne Fernando passed away

Feb 26 (CT) Ex-foreign minister and senior Presidential Advisor Tyronne Fernando[67] passed away at a private hospital in Colombo. Earlier he was appointed as the Governor of the North and East Province in 2004 by former President Chandricka Kumaratunga. Fernando who was the Foreign Minister in the Ranil Wickremasinghe government under president Kumaratunga left the UNP and joined the ruling UPFA. more..

Sri Lanka limp out of tri-series

Feb 26 (CI) Sri Lanka beat themselves in their must-win game as India eased into the finals with an emphatic seven-wicket win in Hobart. In what was a pathetic batting display, Sri Lanka skid from a comfortable 1 for 72 to a perilous 7 for 93, blowing their chances on a flat deck. A composed fifty from Chamara Kapugedera avoided a debacle but couldn't take away the one-sided nature of the contest. more..

Monks battle monkeys to save Buddhism's holiest tree

Feb 26 (AFP) Buddhism's holiest tree in Sri Lanka's ancient capital, tightly guarded by monks and security forces after Tamil rebels attacked it 23 years ago, is under threat again -- this time from monkeys. Pilgrims are frisked and scanned by metal detectors before being allowed to worship the "Sri Maha Bodi," grown from a sapling of a tree in India that sheltered the Buddha when he attained enlightenment more than 2,550 years ago. more..

Tea acts as tonic to Sri Lanka stocks war gloom

Feb 26 (Reuters) After a sharp downturn earlier this year as civil war flared, Sri Lanka's stock market is recovering thanks to an unlikely tonic -- tea. High international tea prices are boosting interest in Sri Lanka's tea and rubber plantation sector shares, which have helped reverse the stock market's 7 percent drop in January, when the government formally cancelled a truce with the separatist rebel Tamil Tigers. more..

Battles across northern Sri Lanka kill 14 rebels, two soldiers, military says

Feb 26 (AP) A series of battles along the front lines of Sri Lanka's flaring civil war killed 14 rebels and two soldiers, the military said Tuesday. The fighting came as government forces repeatedly crossed into northern rebel-held territory to destroy Tamil Tiger fortifications and put the separatist group on the defensive, the military said. In one confrontation, government troops penetrated the front lines Monday in the Vavuniya area, more..

Sri Lankan Buddhist party slams anti-Indian move

Feb 26 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Buddhist party has condemned the anti-India campaign of the ultra nationalist JVP saying that such a campaign will prevent India from supporting the island's fight against Tamil separatists. The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which has a large number of Buddhist monks, said Monday that by urging Sri Lankans to boycott Indian goods, the JVP was alienating the Indian government, whose support was necessary in the fight against separatism and terrorism by the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka congratulates innovative organizations for work achieved to bridge the digital divide

Feb 27 (eGM) The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) launched the e-Society Development Initiative under the patronage of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa to take Sri Lanka into a new era where all sections of society would reap the benefits of ICT. By facilitating more balanced access to information within the Sri Lankan society, it is expected that the e-SDI will help in closing the development divide between urban and rural areas more..

Tamil asylum seeker wins reprieve in court

Feb 27 (SI) The Federal Administrative Court has tightened regulations on sending rejected asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka. It said it could no longer be taken for granted that Tamils from the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka can live peacefully in the region around the capital, Colombo. The decision follows a resurgence of violence between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels over the past two years. more..

Polling should not be 'a war'

Feb 27 (BBC) The Catholic Bishop in Batticaloa have urged political parties contesting local elections to take every step to honour the will of the voters. The local elections, Bishop Kingsley Swamipillai said, should not be seen as a battlefield. Rt. Rev. Kingsley Swamipillai stressed that the appeal is not a suggestion that it is already becoming a battlefield. Instead, it was an appeal to make sure all candidates honour the basic democratic right off voters to cast their vote for their selected party and the candidate. more..

'Charge or release' LTTE suspects

Feb 27 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka have ordered Attorney General (AG) to take steps to relase LTTE suspects if no evidence found against them. It is 'unacceptable' that these suspects are kept in remand for long periods such as 12 months, Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath Nanda Silva observed. The CJ made the re marks as a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by a resident in Jaffna, Sinnathurai Mohan, was taken for hearing. more..

Failure to publish voters list in Tamil, violation of Languge Act- Workers Front

Feb 27 (TN) The Ceylon Workers United Front (CWUF) Monday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Sri Lanka's Supreme Court for not publishing voters list in Tamil language. The petitioner trade union has cited the Commissioner of Elections and several government officers as respondents. The petition states that the Commissioner of Elections has failed to publish voters register for the Nuwara Eliya district in Tamil language as required under the Language Act. more..

Tampoe’s reasons for rejecting honour

Feb 27 (LD) Bala Tampoe was a notable absentee when President Mahinda Rajapaksa felicitated 10 veteran trade unionists at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (Feb. 25th). Tampoe, General Secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile and General Workers’ Union, who had rejected an invitation to the event, had informed Mahinda Madihahewa, Secretary of Ministry of Labour Relations, in writing the his reasons for the refusal. more..

Top UN official fails to meet Tamil, Muslim parties

Feb 27 (IANS) A top UN official who was in Sri Lanka to study the worsening ethnic conflict in the island went back Tuesday without meeting leaders of the Tamil and Muslim minorities. UN Assistant Secretary for Political Affairs Angela Kane met ministers, officials, and leaders of a radical Sinhalese political party, the JVP, but avoided the TNA and the SLMC, two of the biggest political parties of the minorities. more..

From the light of democracy to the dimness of reality

Feb 27 (ML) While the government was engaged in releasing Goebelian statistics of LTTE cadres killed in the embattled north, the hope of a political solution was to diminish further as the APRC came to a grinding halt Monday. At a crucial meeting of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), the JHU and the MEP with full backing by the SLFP, decided to call for a suspension of the APRC until a final decision was taken on accommodating the TMVP in the process. more..

HL-Commander who cleared Thoppigala takes Army Chief to court

Feb 27 (ML) The Sri Lanka Army’s Eastern Commanding Officer who was responsible for the capturing of Thoppigala and other areas last year, Major General Parakrama Pannipitiya has charged that his security has been seriously compromised by Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka. Filing a fundamental rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court last Friday (22) Maj. Gen. Pannipitiya has said that his life is in danger following the withdrawal of his security and has prayed for the re-instatement of his security contingent. more..

UNP calls on President to implement 13th Amendment

Feb 27 (ML) The UNP yesterday informed President Mahinda Rajapakse that the 13th Amendment to the constitution was part of the law of the country and that there was no bar to its implementation. This UNP position was brought to the President’s notice when the party met with the government delegation yesterday at Temple Trees. The government delegation comprised President Rajapakse, Ministers Maithripala Sirisena, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Tissa Vitharana and Prof. Wishva Warnapala. more..