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Sri Lanka inflation may remain high in 2008 first half: central bank

Feb 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has warned that inflation may remain high around 20 to 16 percent in the first half of 2008 and blamed "low supply" of domestic foods for the sudden price jump of 3.0 percent in January. Eighty percent of the price increases was due to food, the monetary authority said, while an increase fuel and cooking gas brought in 16 percent, pushing inflation measured by the new Colombo Consumer Price Index to 20.8 percent from 18.8 percent in December. more..

What Dayan Jayatilake fails to understand….

Feb 5 (TC) Mr. Dayan Jayatilake lectures on fascism. He has taken great efforts to identify the enemy. And tirelessly describes this enemy as the enemy of Sinhalese, Tamils and all the peoples of Lanka. The issue arises when he begins and ends his write restricted only to LTTE and Tamil fascism. It is that he ignores two more prime actors/acts in this whole issue. One, the Tamil people and the other is Sinhala Buddhist hegemony and state terrorism. more..

60 Years of Travel Along Ethnical Arrogant Path

Feb 5 (FI) In all probability, this year’s Independence Day celebrations would be a show of military might with a strong call for patriotism. It would be a call to bear difficulties with a promise to end terrorism once and for all. Out of all those who would watch celebrations, those who would have their date of birth as 04th February, 1948, would turn out as pensioners from the following day. They would be 60 years old. This country would be as old as those pensioners. more..

New Media - First With Reports On Intensifying War

Feb 5 (IPS) Information is at a premium in Sri Lanka, especially authentic, unadulterated news, fast and quick. With the government and Tamil Tigers militants again waging full-blown battles in the country's north, and the rest of the country beset with fear of unprovoked attacks, Sri Lankans are turning increasingly to non-traditional news and information outlets. The mainstream media is increasingly handicapped by the tense security situation. more..

Heart to Heart & Lie to Lie

Feb 5 (LG) ‘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’ is serialized by the infamous K T Rajasingam writing from Sweden in his Asian Tribune web newspaper. Both are well known heartless characters and their heartlessness has made them join together to serialise their ‘heart to heart chats’. This has raised some intriguing concerns as to what motivated them to engage in such self personifying chat. more..

APRC politics after sixty years of Independence

Feb 5 (LG) The proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) submitted to President Mahinda Rajapakse in January 2008 have accentuated Tamil fears about the intentions of the Sri Lankan government in finding a solution to the conflict that has resulted in widespread human suffering. The APRC’s actions appear to be in unison with the government’s preference of a military solution rather than a negotiated political settlement. more..

Portrait of President Premadasa to be unveiled

Feb 5 (LNP) A portrait of former President Ranasinghe Premada will be unveiled by President Mahinda Rajapakse on Thursday (07) at the Parliamentary complex. President Ranasinghe Premadasa who started his political career as a Member of the Colombo Municipal Council became the Member of Parliament for Colombo Central electorate and was appointed Deputy Minister of Local Government in the 1965-70 government of Dudley Senanayake and later became the Local Government and Housing when more..

President confident Oil will gush from Mannar

Feb 5 (LNP) Oil, hitherto held sacred, and a strong bargaining chip would soon claim its power slot in this government s positive development strategies, said President Mahinder Rajapaksa, addressing the Nation at the 60th independence Day celebrations in Colombo, yesterday. He said Just as oil reserves that would be harnessed in the future from the sea off Mannar and Electricity that would be generated from the Noracholai and Upper Kotmale power projects this indicator will have great importance for Sri Lanka in the future. more..

Lanka to explain at US Breakfast

Feb 5 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan Government will attempt to explain its position on the present conflict situation and the APRC concurrent to US President George Bush’s 55th Annual Prayer Breakfast, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said, adding that he will also attempt to positively persuade the US officials on the Human Rights record of the country. According to Kohona, he has also arranged a series of meetings with US senators, congressmen and also with the US media includng The Washington Times and The Washington Post. more..

Gang arrested for alleged burglaries

Feb 5 (SAMN) Panadura police Monday arrested a gang of four men who were allegedly involved in more than 60 robberies and burglaries in several areas including Panadura, Moratuwa, Pinwatta and Wadduwa areas. Police recovered more than Rs.1.9 million worth of jewellery, electrical appliances, video and still cameras, DVD players, vehicle batteries, bicycles and a motorcycle stolen by the suspects. Inquiries revealed that the suspects were drug addicts and one of them used a motorcycle stolen from Wadduwa area for robberies. more..

Briefcase in bus leads to bomb scare

Feb 5 (SAMN) A major bomb scare was caused when a private bus returning from Kataragama was stopped at the Moratuwa main entry security checkpoint early Monday morning. About a hundred or more passengers as well as the military and police were alarmed when a briefcase was found abandoned in the bus. The semi-luxury private bus (NA-1620) which left Kataragama at 8.30pm on Sunday was stopped at the Colombo main entry security checkpoint on Galle Road, Moratuwa around 3.30am, for routine search purposes. more..

National conference on HRD

Feb 5 (DN) Vocational and Technical Training Minister Piyasena Gamage will inaugurate the 5th National Conference on Human Resources Development organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Training and Development (SLITAD) at the Trans Asia Hotel on February 07 from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. to mark its 10th anniversary. Addressing the media SLITAD, President E. Narangoda said this conference will focus on the conceptual framework in the HRD field while surfacing practical aspects for the benefit of HRD professionals. more..

Stop seeking cheap political mileage, Dullas tells Ranil

Feb 5 (DN) Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma called on Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not to seek cheap political mileage by issuing statements which could be detrimental to the Security Forces Commanders' image. The Minister made these comments with regard to some newspaper reports which quoted the Opposition Leader as saying that the Opposition would wait till March to launch an agitation campaign against the Government, as more..

Colourful display at Independence celebrations

Feb 5 (Island) The sixtieth Independence Day celebrations was held with all the pomp pageantry but yet in a simple manner at Galle Face Green yesterday with colourful decorations displayed across the green. President Mahinda Rajapkse with First Lady Shiranthi Rajapakse arrived at 9.42 am were welcomed by the Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayke and were conducted to the main podium. On arrival of the President and the First Lady was heralded by the trumpet calls. more..

Private bus owners want insurance against terror attacks

Feb 5 (Island) Around 15,000 private bus owners representing Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) will ask the government to register all private buses in the Terrorist Act Insurance cover with immediate effect as private bus owners are not paid damages occuring in terrorist attacks such as bomb blasts and shooting at buses.The owners have also pointed out that even though the passengers are insured buses are not insured by the insurance companies against terrorist acts so that bus owners incur heavy financial losses, more..

Two new MPs take oaths today

Feb 5 (DM) Two new MPs one representing the UPFA and the other the TNA will be sworn in today before Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara when parliament meets at 9.30 am. UPFA’s Priyankara Jayaratne is to succeed Nation Building Minister D.M. Dasanayake who was killed in a bomb blast at Jaela recently and TNA’s R.M. Imam will fill the vacancy created by MP M.K. Eelaventhan who lost his parliamentary seat for absenting himself for more than three months without approval. more..

Threatening call to media: House raided, SMS suspended

Feb 5 (DM) Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) officials yesterday raided what was believed to be the registered location of a mobile phone number from which calls were made to certain private newspapers warning them to keep away from the Independence Day celebrations at Galle Face Green. The caller who simply identified himself as a member of the Ellalan group, an offshoot of the LTTE, warned some news agencies and print media of attacks on the main National Day celebrations. more..

Arjuna Ranatunga seeks full report

Feb 5 (PTI) Concerned over the egg attack on Muttiah Muraliatharan and his teammates in Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga has asked the team manager to send a full report on the incident while asking the players to remain focused on the game. Some rowdy elements hurled eggs on Muralitharan and other Lankan cricketers in Hobart when they were returning from a restaurant to the team hotel. more..

Seven Sri Lankan sailors missing after sea battle: military

Feb 5 (AFP) Seven Sri Lankan sailors and their craft were missing on Tuesday following a sea battle with suspected Tamil Tiger guerrillas off the island's northwest coast, military officials said. The clashes erupted when two navy speedboats moved to push back a fleet of poaching fishermen from neighbouring India, a military official said. "We suspect Tigers had taken the cover of Indian fishermen to attack the naval craft," a military official said, more..

IFJ Asia Pacific Regional Leaders Joint Statement to President and Government of Sri Lanka

Feb 5 (IFJ) We, the representatives of journalists’ unions and associations across the Asia-Pacific region, meeting in Kuala Lumpur, appeal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government of Sri Lanka to protect the safety of journalists in Sri Lanka and uphold the rights of the media to report freely. As Asia-Pacific affiliates and partners of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), jointly more..

Lankans mark Independence Day with traditional fervour

Feb 5 (KT) Sri Lankan expatriates came together yesterday at the Sri Lankan embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Sri Lankan consulate in Dubai to celebrate the 60th Independence Day of their country. After unfurling the Sri Lankan flag at the embassy premises, Ambassador Mohamed Nabavi Junaid said, “The Independence Day is celebrated to recommit ourselves to the unity and territorial integrity for all citizens so that all can enjoy equal rights and privileges without any differences.” more..

Sri Lanka offshore potential ignored by oil majors

Feb 5 (LBO) None of the world's major petroleum companies has bid for the offshore exploration blocks offered by the Sri Lankan government in the Mannar Basin, despite initial interest, officials said. They said the lack of interest from oil majors may have been because of more promising discoveries elsewhere, the comparatively small size of the Sri Lankan deposit and the risks involved. "Generally, there are three factors investors would critically evaluate," more..

Heart to Heart With Somawansa Amerasinghe (3)

Feb 5 (AT) The JVP leader Mr.Somawansa Amerasinghe talks today of a commission and how to do away with racial discrimination. He says that there should be an official body in every province a national integration commission to do away with the racial discrimination in the country. In the meantime, yesterday K.T.Rajasingham pointed out, “For the simple reason, right from the beginning the day when Legislative and Executive Councils were set up after 1833, they had members representing the Tamils and more..

No Retreat, No Surrender!

Feb 5 (LG) The Sri Lanka Army has started training its newest Division, the 61 Div. Last year and this year, the Army managed to recruit over 35,000 youth. It raised several new Regiments, including 9 Armoured Corp, which is now undergoing Battalion Training at Maduru Oya Combat Training School (CTS). A battalion training involves around 750-1000 officers and men in live firing, inclusive of heavy guns, close air support simulations etc to ready troops for actual combat. more..

'Hatching chicken from spoiled egg'

Feb 5 (TN) Ruling out any constitutional reform and upholding a 'single unitary state', the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his 60th Independence Day speech harped on 'bringing the provincial administration closer to the people within the framework of the constitution' to resolve the ethnic crisis of Sri Lanka. “The solution must be based on what could be implemented in this country. We cannot offer solutions that are experiments,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka sets up migration monitoring unit

Feb 5 (LBO) The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Sri Lanka's Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) have opened a National Centre for Migration Statistics in Colombo. "As a country with high outward migration, Sri Lanka needs reliable statistics on migration patterns and flows to formulate effective migration policies," said IOM Sri Lanka chief of mission Mohammad Abdi Ker, in a statement. The centre, which is housed at the DCS, is funded by the European Commission and Australia. more..

Temple Trees throws independence party amidst bloodbath

Feb 5 (LD) Temple Trees threw a lavish party last night (Feb. 04th) to mark the 60th independence anniversary at a time when the country is gripped with insecurity and uncertainty, sources say. The celebrations attended by the president, his brothers, government ministers and MPs, leading businessmen and lawyers came in the midst of two days of bloodbath that claimed 28 lives and injured over 100 in several blasts. On Independence Day alone, two explosions in Welioya and Buttala left 15 dead and 20 injured. more..

Suspicious boats confront with Navy off Mannar Sea

Feb 5 (GDI) Sri Lanka Navy was compelled to launch a retaliatory attack when two of its coastal patrol craft were fired upon by a boat that came along with a cluster of Indian Fishing vessels in the Gulf of Mannar last evening (February 5). According to sources one of the boats among the Indian fishing vessels that had come into Sri Lankan waters had pretended to be in distress and requested assistance from the Navy boats. more..

New satellite TV Channel for war heroes

Feb 5 (GDI) A new satellite TV Channel ‘Rana Ru’ dedicated to war heroes was officially launched by the Ministry of Defence with the collaboration of Dialog TV yesterday (04). This channel was established with the intention of motivating and boosting the morale of the forces. According to the content manager of the new channel, Major Nilantha Jayaweera, it will be operated around the clock, in four sessions of six hour telecasts. more..

Govt. explores possibility of operating ‘Srilankan’ on its own

Feb 5 (GDI) Following the Emirates decision to cease managent operations of SriLankan Airlines effective from the 31st of March this year, the Government is pursing the possibility of operating all activities under State ownership. Minister of Ports and Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa has directed the officials to acquire administrative know-how for operations from overseas for the smooth functioning of the airline’s activities. more..

‘Lanka Displays (Pvt) Ltd.’ to promote EDB products internationally

Feb 5 (GDI) Lanka Displays’ (Pvt) Ltd will be the official commercial arm of the Export Development Board (EDB). This centre will be established at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayaka on February 7. As the EDB cannot sell products the transactions will be entrusted to Lanka Displays Pvt Ltd. According to EDB sources it has called applications from interested parties to participate in this display but only four companies have agreed to do so. more..

Legal Aid Centre opens centre at Nugegoda

Feb 5 (GDI) The Legal Aid Commission (LAC) opened its 43rd Centre at Nugegoda Court Complex premises recently. The Centre was ceremonially opened by LAC Chairman S. S. Wijeratne with the participation of LAC Director General Justice Hector S. Yapa, Gangodawila District Judge N.B.P. de S. Karunaratne and Gangodawila Magistrate U.G.W.K.W. Jinadasa. District Judge Karunaratne addressing the gathering said he has spent four years in Zambia as an expert to strengthen more..

Geneva U.N. Missions briefed on CFA and APRC

Feb 5 (PISL) briefing titled, The CFA and After: Sri Lanka's Withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), was held today, 31st January, from 15:20 to 17:20 in room XIX of the United Nations Office at Geneva (Palais des Nations). The speakers were Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process in Sri Lanka and Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Geneva. more..

Rohit Sharma fined for dissent

Feb 5 (CI) Rohit Sharma was fined 10% of his match fee for dissent after being incorrectly judged caught behind for 0 off Muttiah Muralitharan at the Gabba. Sharma was the second India batsman to remain camped to the crease following his dismissal over the past six weeks, but his punishment was stronger than Yuvraj Singh's following an in-depth pre-series discussion on behaviour by Jeff Crowe, the match referee. more..

Blue is the colour but not the mood

Feb 5 (CI) For the first time in Australia this summer, two international teams played and understood each other. Sri Lanka started the Test duties here in November when the tiring complaints over Muttiah Muralitharan were re-aired before the Australia-India controversies erupted at - and after - the SCG. In the lingering fallout, both outfits and many supporters struggled to comprehend the views of the other side, something that will take a desire to change and many more series to achieve. more..

India-Lanka match abandoned

Feb 5 (CI) For the second match running, a faithful Brisbane crowd was denied a full day of cricket as further inclement weather washed out the second match of the CB Series, this time between India and Sri Lanka. What they were treated to, in India's uninterrupted innings, was the prototype of the perfectly-paced ODI century from Gautam Gambhir in only the second battle between these two teams on Australian soil. more..

Right to life of civilians disregarded as conflict intensifies

Feb 5 (AI) As yet another bomb exploded in Sri Lanka killing 12 civilians and wounding 17 others today, Amnesty International condemned the targeting of civilians by the LTTE. Today’s bomb in a bus in Welioya, 120 miles north of Colombo, is the latest in a long line of attacks that have targeted and killed civilians. On Sunday at least 11 people were killed in a suicide attack at the main railway station in Colombo, while more..

Fresh fighting in Sri Lanka kills 20 rebels, two soldiers, military says

Feb 5 (AP) A fresh round of fighting between security forces and Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka's volatile north killed 20 rebels and two soldiers as air force jets bombed two suspected rebel bases, the military said Tuesday. The combatants were killed in 10 separate battles Monday in the Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya regions just south of the Tamil Tigers' de facto state in northern Sri Lanka, said military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara. more..

Indian 'fishing' boats fire RPGs on Sri Lankan navy

Feb 5 (IANS) In an unprecedented development, a fishing boat believed to be Indian fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) on Sri Lankan naval boats damaging one vessel, a naval spokesperson said Tuesday. Navy spokesperson Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake said Tuesday that the incident occurred at about 6.30 p.m. Monday when two of the 400-odd Indian trawlers off Talaimannar in northwest Sri Lanka signalled for help. more..

Claymore mines used to lethal effect

Feb 5 (IRIN) As part of a campaign to ensure that there are no easy hiding places for Claymore mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the verges of main roads in Colombo and many other major cities are now being kept clear of overgrown shrubs. The Claymore is an explosive device that uses a heavy metal sheet backing to project the blast in a certain direction. It was first developed in the USA in the 1950s and used extensively as a defensive weapon by US troops, more..

Sri Lanka stages mass funerals after Freedom Day bloodshed

Feb 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka staged mass funerals for bomb blast victims after independence day festivities were marred by a string of attacks blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. Schools in Colombo were shut as a Buddhist service was held for seven students and their baseball coach killed in a suicide bombing at a train terminal here on Sunday on the eve of Freedom Day. After funeral rites, the coffins were taken to the victims' homes for burial. more..

Sri Lanka jets bomb rebels, no end to war in sight

Feb 5 (Reuters) Sri Lankan jets bombed rebel positions in the island's far north on Tuesday, the military said, as a 25-year civil war deepens daily. The government is trying to drive the rebels from their northern positions and the military said 21 rebels and 3 soldiers were killed in ground fighting on Monday in several northern districts. The military has captured large swathes of territory from the Tigers in the east of the country and vastly outmans and outguns them. more..

APRC:Fresh Wine to Old Bottle

Feb 6 (LG) The interim proposal handed over to the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, by the chairman of the All Party Representative Committee, Professor Tissa Vitharana, to achieve maximum and effective devolution of power to the provinces was succinctly described by a columnist in The Island, a Colombo daily, thus: “The APRC has laboured for 18 months and delivered a 20-year-old still-born baby by a Caesarean section.” more..

Practically, every day there are mass killings of people -Gayantha

Feb 6 (LeN) Gayantha Karunatilake , UNP M.P. addressing the Media at the UNP Media Unit today (5 Feb) referred to the bloodbath the country was plunged into by the Rajapakse Govt. Independence day celebrations yesterday (4 Feb). While stating that the very purpose of independence was marred by the unnecessary loss of lives of innocent civilians and soldiers owing to the Govt.'s mishandling of the war whereby what disasters confined to the North has now been dragged to the whole of Sri Lanka. more..

Are Sea Tigers Involved with Indian Fishermen?

Feb 6 (LG) Sri Lanka Navy concluded the search operation conducted today morning in the seas off Thalaimannar. The Navy launched the search operation when two of its small fibre glass boats were fired upon by two Indian fishing craft engaged in illegal fishing north of Thalaimannar close to Iranathivu yesterday (4th Feb), according to Sri Lankan Navy official report. However, according to reliable sources, “two vessels of the Sri Lanka Navy suddenly came under fire when they tried to investigate a large number of fishing boats docked in more..

It’s our country and our freedom fight against terrorism

Feb 6 (LR) In the last week, we have witnessed a surge bomb blasting ranging from claymore mines, time bombs and suicide blastings. It is no longer arm force’s or government’s war on behalf of us (which we were made to think by media for long). In the last election, we clearly gave a mandate to the government to eradicate terrorism and as responsible people we can not let the responsibility solely on arm forces and government and relax. more..

Eastern elections

Feb 6 (GV) In the backdrop of a country at war and democracy that’s hostage to the whim and fancy of a President and his coterie of murderous brutes, it’s hard to be even cautiously optimistic about the upcoming elections in the East. For the average voters in the South however, the fact that they are being held at all is a marker of the success of this government in eradicating the scourge of the LTTE from the East. more..

New potentials for democracy in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (AHRC) Although the Independence Day has passed all the people of Sri Lanka, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others alike are more worried than ever about the future of independence, meaning the future of democracy in the country. Clearly everyone wants a new nation and all are fed up with the style of the one that exists. However, about what the new nation should be there is confusion, giving rise to conflicts and even to bloodshed. more..

Tigers fire at Sri Lanka Navy from among Indian boats

Feb 6 (IANS) In a menacing development, a Tamil Tiger squad mingled among Indian fishing boats and fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) at the Sri Lankan Navy damaging a vessel, officials said Tuesday. Indian fishermen caught in the firing in the sea amid darkness Monday evening returned to the Tamil Nadu shore with harrowing tales, Indian military officials told IANS from the port town of Rameshwaram. more..

Sri Lanka, politicians celebrate independence while the people continue to die

Feb 6 (AN) It makes no sense to celebrate independence when the country is at war. This is the conviction of many of the citizens of Colombo, where celebrations were held yesterday for the 60th anniversary of independence from England. The anniversary was preceded and accompanied by a series of explosive attacks. The most serious of these killed 15 persons yesterday near Anuradhapura, in the northeast. more..