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President lauds Archbishop on Golden Jubilee

Feb 2 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday sent a message of felicitation to the Most Reverend Dr. Oswald Gomis, Archbishop of Colombo on the Golden Jubilee of his ordination as a priest in the Catholic Church. The full text of the President's message is as follows: "In the past fifty years as a priest, he already had made his mark as teacher, spiritual director of those aspiring to priesthood, writer and editor when elevated as a bishop in 1963 at the age of 36. more..

Attack on Buddhist Pilgrims: LTTE Strategies

Feb 2 (LG) “I vehemently and unequivocally condemn this 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 Anuradapura to participate in a Buddhist ceremony. This shows the reality of the struggle we have to face to eliminate terrorism from our country,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a statement on recent bomb blast in Dambulla. more..

CC delay: Ranil hits out at MR

Feb 2 (SAMN) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Friday charged that by deliberately delaying the reactivation of the Constitutional Council (CC), President Mahinda Rajapaksa had shown his lack of interest in good governance. Wickremesinghe said there was no reason for the delay as the Prime Minister, the opposition leader and the Speaker had earlier named their CC nominees with the minority parties having nominated former Auditor General S.C. Mayadunne a few weeks ago. more..

Prabha unable to lead outfit: Navy Chief

Feb 2 (SAMN) Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda said that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was either injured or indisposed and was not capable of leading his organisation due to immense pressure exerted by the armed forces. “According to intelligence reports Prabhakaran is either injured or indisposed and he is not capable of leading the LTTE, which is running low on their military stocks,” the Navy Chief said. more..

National Day memorial museum opens

Feb 2 (SAMN) A new National Day memorial museum will be established at the Independence Square, Colombo 07 to commemorate the 60th National Day celebrations at 3.00 PM Sunday under the patronage of Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya. The museum will be established at the presently abandoned under-ground floor of the Independence Square Building. more..

10 new subjects for higher education

Feb 2 (SAMN) The Ministry of Higher Education has introduced 10 new subjects for higher education from the next university enrolment, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said. The Higher Education Ministry has introduced these new courses, Accordingly, the number of courses will increase up to 72 from 62. They have considered global trends and the needs of the local and foreign job market, the Chairman pointed out. more..

(D) Group condemns UNP decision to boycott National Day events

Feb 2 (DN) The UNP (D) Group yesterday condemned the decision by the UNP leadership to boycott the Independence Day celebrations as a treacherous act at a time when the country was waging a second struggle to defeat terrorism. While describing the UNP as the cradle of the freedom struggle, Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said the present anti-national stance of the UNP leadership was a slap in the face of those leaders who spearheaded Sri Lanka’s freedom struggle. more..

Facelift for schools under Jathika Saviya

Feb 2 (DN) The Education Ministry under the third phase of the Jathika Saviya programme has made arrangements to develop 17 under-developed schools in areas affected by the conflict with the assistance of 14 National Schools, Educational Services Minister Nirmala Kotelawala said on Thursday. The Jathika Saviya programme is conducted by the Education Ministry under President Mahinda Rajapaksa's direction following his visit to under-developed schools in the Anuradhapura district. more..

Shock revelation: CEB pays PAYE tax of blue eyed men

Feb 2 (Island) Controversy surrounds the inordinate delay in taking disciplinary action against 21 senior employees of the debt-ridden Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) who are alleged to have fraudulently received payments from the Inland Revenue Department. They have received payments to the tune of Rs 1.3 million over a period of time from the Inland Revenue Department by falsely claiming that they had been overtaxed whereas the CEB had paid the PAYE (pay as you earn) tax on their behalf. more..

CPC seeks Bribery Commission probe on mega robbery at Muturajawela facility

Feb 2 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) plans to call the Permanent Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to probe a long-running fraud at its Muturajawela fuel storage and distribution facility where a group of influential officials, with the help of a section of the workers are suspected of a massive pilferage. CPC Chairman Asantha de Mel yesterday said that they were in the process of handing over the investigation to the Bribery Commission. more..

SC orders to complete year 1 admissions by Feb. 29

Feb 2 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Education Ministry Secretary that Year One school admissions for the current year be finalized and completed by February 29.The bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Nimal Dissanayake and Nimal Gamini Amaratunga. At the outset, counsel appearing for the Past Pupils Associations submitted to court a list of students who had been left out but had obtained equal marks as those admitted and more..

Timber racketeers, a threat to national security: Champika

Feb 2 (DM) Timber racketeers, ganja cultivators and sand miners were posing a major threat to country’s natural environment and also to national security, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Minister, Champika Ranawaka said yesterday. “It has proven beyond doubt timber racketeers and sand miners are behind the killing of two Wild Life department employees of the Wasgomuwa Park. more..

Aditya Birla group to invest $120m in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (IANS) India's Aditya Birla group is to invest $120 million in a carbon black manufacturing plant in the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The plant is to be located in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) at Koggala, near Galle, said a statement from the Sri Lankan ministry of enterprise development. Carbon black is used to manufacture tyres. The Koggala plant is meant to serve customers in Sri Lanka, India and other countries of South Asia. more..

Sri Lanka says SAfrica pull-out caused huge losses

Feb 2 (AFP) South Africa's decision to quit a triangular one-day series in 2006 caused Sri Lanka's hard-up cricketing body to lose 11 million dollars, a top official said here Saturday. South Africa pulled out after a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel bomb attack hit the convoy of Pakistan's top envoy to Sri Lanka, killing four of his bodyguards. The blast was near the South African team hotel. more..

Beaten Sri Lankans hurt after Jayasuriya facial injury

Feb 2 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya's preparation for the CB Series took a severe blow when he was forced to retire hurt after being hit on the jaw during the Sri Lankans' defeat by Tasmania. Jayasuriya, who was struck when trying to pull a Tim MacDonald bouncer in the eighth over, left the field for six stitches and later went for an x-ray, which cleared him of a fracture. Brendan Drew also hurt the visitors with 5 for 36 from ten overs and they could only reach 9 for 183 in 47.4 overs. more..

Eggs and abuse hurled at Murali and officials

Feb 2 (CI) Members of the Sri Lankan camp in Australia for the CB series were the target of verbal abuse and had eggs thrown at them on Thursday night in Hobart. Muttiah Muralitharan and a team selector were part of a group walking from a restaurant to the team hotel and the selector was hit on the back by an egg. As a result, the Sri Lankan board has asked Cricket Australia (CA) to tighten security around the team. more..

Bus bombing kills 20 as Sri Lanka readies for independence day

Feb 2 (AFP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels detonated a bomb on a crowded bus in northern Sri Lanka killing at least 20 people on Saturday, officials said, two days ahead of celebrations marking independence day. The parcel bomb ripped through the vehicle at a bus station in Dambulla, 150 kilometres north of Colombo. It had stopped en route to the Buddhist pilgrimage town of Anuradhapura to pick up more passengers, police said. more..

Sri Lankan artist critiques social ills through his paintings

Feb 3 (LR) A cursory glance at artist Walter Kulasooriya’s paintings suffices to apprehend the passion he says he feels for remedying the “ills of comtemporary Sri Lankan society”. A closer look reveals how Kulasooriya - who once produced the world’s longest painting – imagines what Sri Lanka could have been, had not the rot of politics set in. Kulasooriya would know. He escaped the tsunami when he and his wife clutched onto a roof beam while watching everything he owned – including his Ahangama art gallery – destroyed before his very eyes. more..

Murders most foul committed by the ENDLF in the Indian soil (Part 02)

Feb 3 (LG) Eelam National Democratic Liberation (ENDLF) headed by Gnanasegaram Easwaran known as Paranthan Rajan has its operational base in Chennai ,Bangalore and Orissa in India. ENDLF is the only other organisation to that of the LTTE which has subscribed to the demand for separate state of Tamil state in Sri Lanka. The official addresses of the ENDLF according to their website is 6/7, Poornima Appartment, United India Colony, Second Main Road, Kodambakkam, Chennai - 600 024. more..

A code of ethics for ministers and politicians

Feb 3 (LG) One of the Editors of a newspaper in an editorial not long ago, contrasted the action taken against politicians like Narasimha Rao, who have committed acts of corruption in India, with the absolute impunity with which our own politicians practise corruption here. It was argued by some that the previous Government crippled the Permanent Commission on Bribery & Corruption when its investigations came too close for the comfort & security of important persons. more..

Western Cultural Colonialism

Feb 3 (LG) Capitalism, according to some "postmodernist" Marxists such as Fredric Jameson, is in its third stage having passed the stage of imperialism as identified by Lenin. Jameson, apparently, has conceptualised a third stage for capitalism, having being influenced by the concept of late capitalism of Mandel, a guru in the Trotskyite tradition. However, there are many Marxists who do not believe in postmodernity, let alone a third postmodernist stage of capitalism, and as far as some of them are concerned, modernity is a continuing process. more..

Bogollagam's wife appointed as personal assistant

Feb 3 (LG) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has appointed his wife Deepthi to his Ministry this week as his personal assistant. Meanwhile, Foreign Office sources said that the President approved the appointments of SLFP lawyer Senaka Walgampaya PC as High Commissioner to Australia, prominent criminal lawyer Daya Perera as High Commissioner to Canada and retired Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. more..

LTTE men are on full swing in the UK

Feb 3 (LG) The United Kingdom proscribed LTTE activists are proactively engaged in activities of the LTTE in London. The organisations that are definitely identified as fronts of the LTTE are carrying out campaigns to espouse the cause of the LTTE. The British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) are the main LTTE fronts, which have organised large gatherings and publicity campaigns incurring exorbitant costs for the past two years. more..

SriLankan fast turning Colombo into travel hub

Feb 3 (Gulf) SriLankan Airlines is fast turning Colombo into a hub for air travel, steadily increasing the number of passengers in transit through the island's international airport. Three years ago, only 28 per cent of passengers carried by SriLankan through the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) were in transit - a little over a quarter. The bulk of travellers were tourists visiting Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans returning from overseas. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils after Sixty Years of Independence I

Feb 3 (TC) Sixty is a magic number in the Hindu astrological calendar. Each year has a distinctive name. The names for these years number sixty. All years come and go in a cycle of sixty. So people born in a particular year will find themselves celebrating their sixtieth birthday in the year with the same name. The sixtieth birthday itself is regarded as a milestone and observed ceremoneously by many. more..

Meet Gota - the 'Ugly American'

Feb 3 (ML) 'Because it's there,' famous alpinist, George Mallory once replied, when asked why he had climbed a mountain. It was an answer that would become the manthra of climbers ever since. Alas for the Tamil citizenry in Colombo any reply which includes the words 'because it was there' or the more common Sri Lankan answer to any question 'just,'(nikan) or ohai innawa, will no longer suffice. more..

The Karuna case unplugged

Feb 3 (ML) The sentencing of Karuna Amman in a British Court last Friday has burst open a legal and diplomatic Pandora’s Box for the Sri Lankan government. Given the rate at which evidence is piling up from all quarters to prove that the government spearheaded the smuggling of Karuna into the United Kingdom, it will soon be impossible to avoid the international ramifications that follow. more..

JVP bites the dust over dirty deals

Feb 3 (ML) The internal conflict within the JVP that intensified with the unofficial house arrest of one of its Colombo District Parliamentarians, Sunil Handunnetti, has further deepened adding several new twists to the saga. The Handunnetti saga brought to the open the involvement of the JVP in various underhand deals, links to casino kings and strong-arm tactics to keep the members in check. more..

Government turns its guns on Sirisena

Feb 3 (ML) SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena has been the talking point in the country during the past few weeks. Sirisena’s name was dragged in to the limelight in relation to the sky-rocketing rice prices. However, it is surprising that although the rice prices have been on the increase for the past few months, Sirisena’s name was dragged in only during the past few weeks. more..

Testing time for Sri Lankan nation

Feb 3 (LR) In the latter part of the colonial era, Sri Lanka never had a full scale people’s struggle for independence and the year 1948 marked the nominal completion of transition of colonial powers into the hands of their Sri Lankan agents. Since then government and people were two distinct and isolated entities, the politicians used to come in front of the people during the election periods and then its people’s turn to criticize the elected government until the next election. more..

Sri Lanka trade minister wants export benefits to reach more people as inflation rages

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka should ensure that growth in exports last year spread its benefits wider to reduce poverty and unemployment, a senior minister said as inflation hit a new high in the island. The government's export policy has been remarkably successful in the past year with an across-the-board development of exports by 15 percent, minister of export development and international trade G L Peiris said. more..

Travel warning after bomb blast

Feb 3 (AAP) Australians are being warned not to travel to some of Sri Lanka's most popular tourist destinations after the latest deadly bomb attack to hit the island nation. At least 20 people were killed when a bomb exploded on a crowded bus in Dambulla, 150 km north of Colombo in the Cultural Triangle region. The attack, two days before Sri Lanka's independence day, has been blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels who are locked in a struggle with government forces. more..

Heart to Heart With Somawansa Amerasinghe (1)

Feb 3 (AT) Asian Tribune begins a five part series of “heart to heart chats” with JVP Leader Somawamsa Amerasinghe providing a deep insight into the current political impasse in Sri Lanka. Answering my question how you view the political situation in the country, Amaresinghe urged the need to assess the situation and prepare a conducive backdrop before rushing into any drastic changes. The full text of the question and answer session is given below. more..

Lilamani kapoor nee Rajasooriya, a Sri Lankan Celebrity dies in London at the age of 80

Feb 3 (AT) Lilamani Kapoor nee Rajasooriya, the former Ceylon Tourist Board employee whose talent, charm and beauty took her to fame wealth and celebrity circles in Europe has died in London at the age of eighty, the London Times announced in a half a page obituary. Moving in such celebrity circles as Princess Margaret’s set in London her friends included such famous men as Marc Chagall, Jean-Paul Sartre, the priapic aristocrat Dado Ruspoli, Jean Cocteau and Steve McQueen. more..

Creating Paradises

Feb 3 (AT) Gotabhaya Rajapakse is no seer. He sounds prophetic because he, together with his siblings, runs the country. When the Rajapakse regime decides on some controversial issue of national significance, Defence Secretary Rajapakse announces it to the world not as fait accompli but as a desirable measure. Perhaps the Defence Secretary is somewhat indiscreet; perhaps his task is to make bald pronouncements which can act as trial balloons. more..

Tamils are the victims of Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (SLW) was surprised to read the major's article, which says Sinhalese made only one mistake that was 83 riots, and thereafter everything is the fault of LTTE. He conveniently forgot everything before and after. First of all I am a Tamil currently living in Canada because I was chased out of my home twice by Sinhalese once from Colombo and then from Jaffna. In between I was beaten and the very much-disciplined Sinhalese army broke my leg in 1987 when I was thirteen only because I am a Tamil. more..

War is old men talking and young men dying

Feb 3 (SLW) A Chinese proverb once said “a wise man can see more from the bottom of the well, than a fool from the top of a mountain”. Peace in Sri Lanka is much the same as this proverb. To put it bluntly for the past quarter of a century, it has been a land plagued by a people who believe that indeed wisdom can be seen from the top of a mountain. Both sides do not see the real cost of war, for the future generations of a country in which much of its people still struggle to live from day to day. more..

Boycotting Sri lankan goods – an act of stupidity and immaturity

Feb 3 (SLW) The eloquently crafted essay by an unnamed Tamil woman from Ottawa, ‘Sharing my thoughts with Tamil Diaspora’ was interesting reading. I too am from Ottawa, but a Sinhalese who has always refused to be anonymous in my reflections on the Tamil dispute in Sri Lanka, so I will make it absolutely sure that I will sign my name at the end of this letter. This Tamil woman’s letter had several aspects to it. more..

Did LTTE Do a Repeat of Navally, in Madhu?

Feb 3 (SLW) Serious doubts have been cast on the alleged SLA attack against Tamil civilians at Thachanamarandamadu recently. The LTTE alleged the attack was launched by a 'DUP' Unit and initial reports indicated the dead were school children. However, in a startling series of revelations, all that could now change. Under the leadership of a senior officer in Mannar heading the 58 Division, the SLA has been systematically monitoring and recording all LTTE radio communications. more..

2nd Anniversary of the Abduction and Execution of 7 TRO Humanitarian Workers

Feb 3 (SLW) Since January 2006, 60 humanitarian workers have been killed in Sri Lanka leading John Holmes, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, to observe that Sri Lanka is among the most dangerous places on earth for humanitarian workers. Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) offices today took time to pay their respects and remember the 7 TRO humanitarian workers who were abducted on 29 and 30 January 2006 while traveling through the Welikanda area more..

JVP to hold series of rallies to protest Tissa Vitharana proposals

Feb 3 (LT) The JVP has decided to hold a series of rallies throughout the country to protest against devolution proposals put forward by Minister Tissa Vitharana. A spokesman for the JVP said the first of the series of rallies will be held in Colombo on the 12th followed by a rally at Anuradhapura. The rallies will be held on the theme “Defeat devolution proposals put forward by the government capitulating to foreign pressure that obstruct struggle to defeat tiger terrorists.” more..

Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (PISL) This Report is an updated version of a presentation made on the Humanitarian Situation in Sri Lanka by a Representative of the Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) at the Sri Lanka Development Forum held at the Lighthouse Hotel in Galle on 29th and 30th January 2007. The overall objective of the Government of Sri Lanka is to develop the North and East as a hospitable and attractive place and more..

Sri Lanka media reflects on six decades of independence

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's independent English weeklies have slammed decades of mismanagement as a war-ravaged island wracked by inflation and corruption prepares to mark 60 years of freedom from British rule on February 04. "What we are now confronted with is a nation in peril, at the mercy of foreign aid donors dictating good governance to what is, a sovereign state," said the privately owned The Sunday Times in an editorial headlined 'She's my country still'. more..

2 police teams probe Dambulla bus blast

Feb 3 (LD) Two police teams are investigating the bus bomb blast in Dambulla this morning (Feb. 02nd) that claimed 18 lives and injured around 50 others. Five critically injured persons underwent emergency surgery at the Dambulla Hospital, according to hospital sources. Twenty-five others have been rushed to the Kurunegala and Matale Hospitals. Of the dead, 16 are women, the sources said. more..

Military versus 17,000 LTTE cadres in `Final Battle` or `Highway of Death`

Feb 3 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapakse calls it the `Final Battle` while the LTTE speaks of a `Highway of Death` terminology apart, the North-East war should be over in about four to five months time, authoritative military sources said. This takes us to the battle front and the much disputed LTTE strength or more precisely its manpower. The sources speaking to the `Sunday Island`, said that the LTTE has between 15,000 to 17,000 cadres. more..

Treasury gets control EPF

Feb 3 (SAMN) The Treasury has moved to take control of government and semi-government managed provident fund accounts including the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) fund of Rs. 17,000 million saying that default by such funds will have a contingent liability on the government. The decision was announced at a meeting Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundara and Treasury Operations Director General Lalith de Silva held with Fund Managers of the respective provident funds more..

Prorogation of Parliament on the cards?

Feb 3 (SAMN) Speculation was rife of a possible prorogation of Parliament on Wednesday while rumours are also swirling in political circles of an impending Cabinet reshuffle, at which the President’s brother, Basil, is due to receive a portfolio. Asked for a comment, Basil Rajapaksa said he was “not sure” if a prorogation will take place. “My view is that we need one but it’s purely up to the President to decide,” he said, more..

Gender gap in SL’s labour market: UNDP

Feb 3 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s labour market contains wide gender inequalities according to the recent report released by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) on the Gender Dimensions of the Millennium Development Goals in Sri Lanka. Although women have significantly contributed to the country’s economic growth and migrant workers are a major source of foreign exchange, the majority of women are employed in low skilled jobs and in the informal sector, more..

Govt. cancels Dr. Rama Mani’s visa

Feb 3 (SAMN) The Immigration Department on Friday cancelled the visa of Dr. Rama Mani -- the sacked and later re-instated executive director of the International Center for Ethnic Studies (ICES), over an on-going crisis within the well-known Sri Lankan think-tank and instructed her to leave Sri Lanka by February 7. However, ICES chairman Professor Kingsley de Silva reinstated Dr. Mani as its executive director just hours before her visa was cancelled and Dr. Mani was expected to appeal the Immigration Department’s decision. more..

Flight returns after passenger complains of pain

Feb 3 (KT) A Colombo-bound Sri Lankan Airlines plane that took off around 7am yesterday from the Dubai International Airport had to return to Dubai after an hour in flight when a Sri Lankan woman passenger complained of pain in the chest. On landing in Dubai, the woman in her thirties, accompanied by her husband, was rushed to Rashid Hospital. “The passenger developed chest pain one hour after flight UL 226 took off from Dubai. The crew was concerned and decided to return to Dubai. more..