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Sri Lanka at Sixty: The unfinished task of nation building

Feb 6 (FI) President Mahinda Rajapakse in his address to the nation on our 60th independence day observed thus ”Our challenge today is to be true to the nation”. He also stated ” our resolve will take us to the creation of a truly free and independent nation in our motherland” Brave words indeed! But what is this nation that we are being challenged to be “true” towards? What is this “truly free and independent nation” that we are resolved to create? more..

The time has come to grin and bear

Feb 6 (ML) On Monday the country marked 60 years of Independence even as bombs exploded everywhere drowning out the sound of celebratory fireworks in Colombo, and a bunch of scallywags purporting to be a civil defence force took grip of the city. The government reacted to the diamond jubilee violence by panic shutting Colombo zone schools and deploying a band of what looked like hooligans to man various check points that sprouted out of nowhere. more..

Heartbreak at D.S.

Feb 6 (ML) On the night of February 4, when the drums of the independence day celebrations had died down, cries of unbearable agony arose from D.S. Senenayake College as bodies of seven students and their baseball coach were brought into the school. "We had adopted strict security measures to protect our students," said principal, Ashoka Senani Hewage, Tuesday, as he wiped the tears off his red rimmed eyes and went on to describe the baseball team members as ‘exemplary students’ who had a great quest for life and living. more..

UNP, JVP take Karu to task over GSN issue

Feb 6 (ML) UNP legislator Lakshman Kiriella yesterday (5) blamed Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister, Karu Jayasuriya for selecting candidates for the post of Grama Seva Niladharis in a non-transparent manner and resorting to blaming the Public Service Commission (PSC) to conceal his own anomaly and breach of cabinet duty. The plight of over 200,000 applicants who sat a competitive examination conducted to select suitable candidates to fill Grama Niladhari vacancies was raised by JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake more..

JVP wants war effort intensified

Feb 6 (ML) The JVP yesterday urged the government not to waste time and energy to appease the international community with political proposals but to muster all forces to fight separatism as one. JVP Parliamentary Group Leader, Wimal Weerawansa making a special statement in parliament yesterday (5) demanded that the government shed all exhibitionism and holding of tamashas like "Deyata Kirula" to direct all resources, financial and human, to complete the task of militarily defeating the LTTE. more..

SLMC welcomes TNA’s Muslim MP

Feb 6 (BL) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) yesterday welcomed the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) move to appoint R.M. Imam who after swearing in as MP vowed to be the voice for Jaffna moors. Mr. Imam replaced M.K. Eelaventhan who lost his seat for absenting himself from Parliament for more than three months without approval. The General Secretary of the SLMC, Hassan Ali told The Bottom Line yesterday that R.M. Imam should be a voice to the Muslims in Jaffna. more..

No more talks!

Feb 6 (BL) Health Minister and government’s Chief Peace Negotiator Nimal Siripala De Silva, has ruled out the possibility of holding any more talks with the LTTE even as a series of explosions killed more than 50 people in the span of just three days. “We are now not keen to talk with Tigers. We are also not keen for a federal solution. We are for power devolution,” Siripala said, addressing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members of the Badulla electorate. more..

Extra classes for students following schools closure

Feb 6 (BL) Leading schools in Colombo city are contemplating on having extra classes for their students after the close down of schools due to security concerns for over than a week. According to Ananda College Principal B.A. Abeyratne they are seeking the Education Ministry approval for the school to conduct special classes on weekends, to cover the syllabuses. “Once schools reopen we will seek the Ministry’s permission to conduct special classes for the students to cover the syllabuses, as schools were closed for more than a week,” more..

Confusion over illegal structures in Colombo

Feb 6 (BL) Confusion over the permits of most of the structures considered to be ‘unauthorised’ within the Colombo Municipal limits has prevented the Urban Development Ministry from demolishing them. Ministry Secretary Dr. D. Ramunujam said though some of the buildings considered to be unathorised have been earmarked for demolition, permits produced by the owners from the CMC have prevented the Ministry from going ahead with its original plan to destroy the buildings or take legal action against the owners. more..

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Feb 6 (MB) The above phrase ‘Loose lips may sink ships’ was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information's attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to the enemy, thus subverting the cause of democracy fought for by the Nations patriots. The poster (shown above) widely distributed in the United States is also from that era. more..

APRC is nothing but the reminder of a Tamil proverb

Feb 6 (IL) Sri Lankan politicians are still living in the make believe world of old myths created in ancient times. The President wants to prove himself in life what his name portrays, "Mahinda", believed to be the son of India's great King Ashoka responsible for spreading the message of the Buddha in India and Sri Lanka. The five-page APRC recommendations are not meant to end Sri Lanka's national problem, rather a piece of paper meant to placate neighbouring India, and to hoodwink the other countries of the world. more..

A Ratnapura school, destroys the future of a female student on misconceived decision

Feb 6 (AT) From Elapatha Ratnapura it is reported that Ratnapura/Elapatha Maha Vidyalaya arrives at a misconceived judgment that a 13 year old female student was subjected to rape and forced the girl to write a statement that she was raped and pregnant. Basing on this forced statement it is alleged that the principal of the school has expelled the girl from the school. A medical examination on the girl has found that neither the girl was raped nor she is pregnant. more..

60th Anniversary of the Independence day of Sri Lanka, celeberated in Sweden

Feb 6 (AT) The 60th Independence Day celebrations were held on Monday 04th February at the Embassy premises with the participation of Sri Lankan expatriate comunity in Sweden, Swedish Nationals, and religious dignitaries. “We shall determine at this very moment to unite and bring back Peace and Prosperity to our Motherland” said Ambassador R.P.Jayasooriya. He thanked all for paying great attention to participate in this monumental occasion to mark the 60th Independence Day of Sri Lanka after unfurling the Sri Lankan flag at the Embassy premises. more..

Friends of Terrorism

Feb 6 (AT) Colombo’s sophisticated society- the so called Jet Set. They serve the terrorists not because they care for the terrorists; because they selfishly love themselves so much – to filthily enrich and benefit themselves rapidly-they are prepared to forget the country and its people. The indirect beneficiaries are the terrorists, because these yuppies and grannies, youthful and aged, wittingly or unwittingly, yield to the agenda sought by the terrorists. more..

Sri Lanka power costs to rise 30-pct to plug Rs42bn hole

Feb 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power ministry is backing a proposal by the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to raise tariffs by around 30 percent to avoid a projected loss of more than 42 billion rupees in 2008. "The suggestion is something like 25 percent and there will be a fuel adjustment rate," power minister John Seneviratne said in a interview with ETV's Lanka Business Report show. There will also be a 20 percent fuel surcharge on the total bill, except for low income households. more..

Sri Lanka Assured of Saudi Support in Serving Expats

Feb 6 (AN) Relations between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka remain strong and the Kingdom has always stood by Sri Lanka in times of need, Muhammad A. Tayeb, director general at the Foreign Ministry’s Office for Makkah Region, said here on Monday night. “The Saudi Fund for Development recently granted SR40 million to construct a 400-meter-long bridge in Sri Lanka’ Eastern Province town of Kinniya,” he said more..

Their silence on tiger atrocities disrobes human rights mongers! – Wimal Weerawansa

Feb 6 (LT) The silence of those who clamour for human rights regarding atrocities committed by tiger terrorists vividly display their partiality to tiger terrorism says Information Secretary of the JVP Wimal Weerawansa. Making a special statement in the Parliament yesterday regarding the attacks carried out by tiger terrorists targeting innocent civilians during the past few days Mr. Weerawansa said, more..

“Hands off civilians! India must now step in and warn the LTTE”

Feb 6 (LG) I very strongly condemn the most brutal killings of 12 innocent ones and injuring about 100 innocent passengers at the Fort Railway Station and the cowardly attack on the Kandy – Dambulla bus causing the death of 20 innocent civilians and injuring 16 others. Only last week 18 civilians, some of whom are students, were killed near Madu in Mannar with 20 others badly injured. more..

Sri Lanka young designers struggle for recognition

Feb 6 (LBO) Five young Sri Lankan designers got the chance to gain some exposure in the competitive world of clothing when their collections were presented during Colombo's second annual fashion week recently. Local fashion brands are struggling to compete with factory rejects and excess stocks from Sri Lanka's massive apparel trade that largely exports under foreign labels. more..

Sri Lanka accountancy qualification gets 'Superbrand' status

Feb 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has been awarded Superbrand status which will serve as a benchmark for other business-to-business services to reach for, branding officials said. "It is an indication that the brand has achieved a unique status in the country," said Sharmila Cassim director marketing of Superbrands, an independent authority and arbiter of branding. more..

Ambulance from Vavuniya turned back without hospital supplies

Feb 6 (LD) An ambulance from the Vavuniya Hospital, on its way to Anuradhapura to collect essential medical equipment and medicine, has been turned back in Medavachchiya. Citing security reasons, authorities do not allow vehicles coming from Vavuniya to cross Medavachchiya. Meanwhile, a large number of people wanting to travel to Anuradhapura, Colombo and Kandy are stranded in Vavuniya, together with around 20 private buses. more..

Tamil Nadu urged to stop LTTE activities under cover of fishing fleet

Feb 6 (GDI) Sri Lanka expects Tamil Nadu officials to take immediate action to set up adequate mechanisms to curb LTTE activity in the state and along the South Indian coast. This request was made after LTTE caders onboard two Indian trawlers destroyed a locally built patrol craft north of Talaimannar and close to the Iranativu island on Monday evening. The request, made through the Indian High Commission, emphasized the need to take immediate action as the attackers had escaped taking cover behind a large cluster of Indian trawlers poaching well within Sri Lankan waters. more..

"Api wawamu-Rata Nagamu" catches on

Feb 6 (GDI) The Government's food drive "Let us sow –Let us grow', better known as the Api Wawamu- Rata Nagamu Programme, keeps expanding as more and more research is geared to this end and more and more public participation is sought to reap full benefits of the timely drive. In supporting the government's concept of resurrecting agriculture, the Anuradhapura Institute of Post Harvest Technology (IPHT) has enhanced and widened its research and development activities. more..

Many Tamil Leaders killed by LTTE - Prof. Suriyanarayan

Feb 6 (GDI) Professor Suriyanarayan a former professor at the University of Peradeniya and presently at Madras University the keynote addressee at the 60th Independence Day celebrations held at the Mahabhodhi Centre in Chennai, said that the LTTE had killed many Tamil leaders over the past three years. He also expressed the view that the political leadership of both the UNP as well as the SLFP was also responsible for this conflict. more..

'Deyata Kirula' commences tomorrow

Feb 6 (GDI) The Deyata Kirula exhibition will commence tomorrow (7th) said Finance and State Revenue Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. The exhibition will be open to the public from 10am to 10pm until February 10, he said. The minister assured that the police and security forces have taken every possible step to ensure security during the exhibition. more..

Alert Civilians avert tragedy in Mundalama

Feb 6 (GDI) The Mundalama Police acting on civilian information defused a bomb with the assistance of bomb disposal units, today at 1.a.m. The bomb was found attached to a transformer at the Madurankuliya town, a suburb of Puttalam, Police sources said. The citizens of Madurankuliya ought to be applauded for their vigilance and the assistance rendered to security forces and Police, Mundalama Police said. more..

Vehicles stranded in Vavuniya

Feb 6 (LNP) Nineteen buses and over 50 other motor vehicles were stranded at Vavuniya following the Army s order that they cannot proceed beyond Vavuniya. Owners of these vehicles have brought this to the notice of the Government Agent Vavuniya S. Shanmugam. He had planned a meeting in this regard with the representatives of the security forces scheduled for last evening (5). Since the security forces failed to give them prior notice of this arrangement they were forced to be stranded in Vavuniya since Sunday, the owners complained. more..

JKH provides soft skills training to Sri Lankan university grads

Feb 6 (LNP) 'The Final Step', a five-day series of soft skills workshops, presented by the John Keells Social Responsibility Foundation (JKSRF), in collaboration with the English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) of the University of Kelaniya, took place from 28 January-1 February 2008 at the university. Designed to enhance the employability of graduates, the programme involved two panel discussions as well as more..

Rights probe on verge of collapse

Feb 6 (SAMN) The future of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) investigating cases of Alleged Human Rights violations hangs in the balance with its members expressing disappointment over what they see as step motherly treatment by the Presidential Secretariat and the CoI Secretary’s resignation, a source said Tuesday. The much publicsed eight-member CoI was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in November 2006 to inquire into 15 specific incidents of serious violations of Human Rights more..

Govt. asks JVP not to stir up the masses

Feb 6 (SAMN) The government Tuesday in Parliament urged the JVP not to stir up the masses against the Moragahakanda Irrigation Project “in the name of God.” While responding to an oral question by the JVP, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said, “I am appealing to you in the name of God, please do not stir up the masses against this project.” However, JVP MP for the Anuradhapura District Ranaweera Pathirana said that Rs. 500 million was allotted for the project in the budget last year. more..

President orders halt to overcrowding

Feb 6 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) to immediately reduce overloading in private buses as the LTTE is bent on targeting over loaded buses. The Sri Lanka Transport Board has also been instructed to avert overloading as a security measure. LPBOA President Gamunu Wijeratne told The Island that President Rajapaksa had informed him to instruct nearly 15,000 private bus owners to take security measures for more..

Conflicting reports over sea clash

Feb 6 (SAMN) There was confusion over a reported incident between a group of Indian fishermen and the Sri Lankan Navy after two varied reports emerged Tuesday – one saying the fisherman opened fire on the Navy while another suggesting Sea Tigers had clashed with the Navy. Navy spokesman D.K.P Dassanayake said the fisherman who had entered Sri Lankan waters on Monday night, had opened fire on Navy patrol vessels which had approached the boats to investigate their illegal presence in the area. more..

Faith-Based Curry

Feb 6 (VV) If it weren't for almost perpetual civil war, Sri Lanka would be a model of ethnic and religious diversity. Four of the world's chief faiths—Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity—live side-by-side on the teardrop-shaped island once known as Ceylon. The colonial history is a patchwork, too, with the island controlled successively by Portuguese, Dutch, and English interests prior to independence in 1948. more..

I-day celebrations peaceful in northern Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (PTI) Independence Day celebrations were surprisingly peaceful in Sri Lanka's embattled North, the rebel stronghold, with only a single violent incident reported in the region, the government said. "Barring an incident at North-East Welioya where the LTTE targeted some civilians, the celebrations in the North were relatively peaceful," the Director of Government Information, Anusha Palpita told PTI. more..

Grade One admissions on new guidelines

Feb 6 (DN) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that Grade One classes in 9,033 schools comprising popular, national and provincial levels have already started sessions since January 31 this year, under the circular issued following the guidelines of the Supreme Court. He said there are 9,251 schools with Grade One classes. Only 218 schools including popular, national and provincial levels have not started Grade One classes yet. more..

Three killed, 60 injured in bus mishap

Feb 6 (DN) Three persons including a school girl were killed and nearly 60 others injured when a private bus from Perettasi to Pussellawa ran off the road at Kachamalai and hurtled down a 200 feet precipice around 7 a.m. yesterday. The dead were identified as A.G. Lakmali, 12, of Helboda and Nimal Ranatunge, 28, and Nalliah Kalimuttu of Perettasi. The injured including about 30 school girls were admitted to the Kandy, Gampola and Pussellawa Hospitals. Investigations are on.

Police torture complaints decrease

Feb 6 (Island) Chairman of the National Police Commission Neville Piyadigama yesterday said that though the NPC had received a record 1,940 complaints against police officers in 2007, there had been a comparative decrease in the number of complaints of torture. Asked whether the drop in the number of torture complaints was due to the increasing number of suspects being killed in alleged encounters while in police custody, he said "It may be so." more..

Sri Lanka has lost its national identity due to rise of communalism – Ranil

Feb 6 (Island) During sixty years of Independence Sri Lanka has lost its national identity to communalism has protruded as a result of which the unity among the communities has been damaged, lamented UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the party meeting held to commemorate the sixtieth Independence Day in Kandy. The meeting was held at the E. L. Senanayake children's Library Auditorium on Monday (4). more..

Opposition strengthened in NWPC

Feb 6 (DM) The ruling UPFA lost its majority in the North Western Provincial Council with the crossover of two SLMC members yesterday. The total number of opposition seats in the Council increased to 27 with 16 from the UNP, nine from the JVP and two from the SLMC while the ruling UPFA had only 24 seats.SLMC members Mohamed Niyaz and A. J. M. Rizvi crossed the floor after making statements that they were following instructions from the party leadership. more..

Veddah Chief in House

Feb 6 (DM) Veddah Chief Uruwarige Wannilaye Eththo yesterday witnessed parliament proceedings occupying a front row VIP seat in the Speaker’s Gallery. However, the indigenous leader armed with his traditional axe had to face a few hiccups before occupying the VIP seat. Parliament security officials sought special permission from Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara to allow the Veddah Chief into the viewing gallery with his machete. more..

Last asylum seekers from Nauru detention centre head to Australia

Feb 6 (ABC) The last Sri Lankan asylum seekers at Australia's immigration detention centre on Nauru are on their way to Australia. The Pacific news agency Pacnews reports the 21 Sri Lankan refugees were told on Tuesday that the Australian Government had granted them permanent protection visas. They were the last of 82 asylum seekers taken to Nauru 10 months ago. Their departure brings to an end the previous Australian government's controversial offshore processing of asylum seekers, more..

Testing the strategy of cooperation

Feb 6 (UPI) With local government elections in Sri Lanka's eastern district of Batticaloa scheduled for March 10, a team of election monitors from PAFFREL, an independent election monitoring network of civil society groups, went to Batticaloa over the weekend to ascertain the ground situation. Some parts of the Batticaloa district in which elections are to be held were under control of the LTTE for over a decade, and only came under government control last year. more..

Sri Lanka may be heading for military stalemate

Feb 6 (IANS) Sri Lankan leaders are gung-ho about capturing by the year-end the country's northern regions the Tamil Tigers now control. But ground realities do not match the optimism, say military observers who are predicting a military stalemate rather than an outright victory for either party. Army chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka has declared he would not hand over the 'terrorist problem' to his successor when he retires at the end of this year. more..

LTTE targets power transformers

Feb 6 (IANS) A powerful bomb damaged a 330,000 KW electricity substation near the Sri Lankan capital early Wednesday, another indication that terrorism is taking a new form with Tamil Tigers hitting soft economic targets to disrupt life in the island country. 'The equipment was repaired but for half an hour the area was in darkness,' military spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said after the blast at Arachchikottuwa near Chilaw, north of Colombo. more..

Did LTTE attack Sri Lankan navy from Indian trawler?

Feb 6 (IANS) Tamil Tiger guerrillas attacked the Sri Lankan navy off Talaimannar in the northwest using a hijacked Indian fishing boat, a spokesman for the navy said Wednesday. But Indian authorities believe the firing was not done from an Indian boat but from a Tamil Tiger vessel. 'The terrorists had hijacked the Indian fishing vessel or were simply disguised as Indian fishermen,' Sri Lankan naval spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake said here. more..

Sri Lanka says 37 Tamil Tigers killed, carries out air strikes

Feb 6 (AFP) Sri Lankan war planes bombed targets inside Tamil Tiger-held territory in the north as ground forces clashed with the rebels, leaving 37 guerrillas and five soldiers dead, the defence ministry said. War planes hit a location near Iranamadu on Wednesday morning after government forces destroyed some 30 bunkers of the LTTE along front lines in the Jaffna peninsula, the ministry said. more..

Attack on Lankan navy boat: Fishermen questioned

Feb 6 (PTI) Intelligence officials on Wednesdayquestioned local fishermen to verify reports that their boats had been used by the LTTE to attack a Sri Lankan Navy vessel. Ten boat owners have been detained here for questioning, the officials said. A Coast Guard official said fishermen lending their boats to the LTTE could not be ruled out as they cannot undertake fishing in Sri Lankan waters without the help of the Tigers. more..

High school athletes buried in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (AP) Teachers and relatives grieved Wednesday for a high school baseball team and its coach, killed when a Sri Lankan suicide bomber blew herself up at a busy train station as they returned home from a tournament. As fighting between government forces and Tamil separatists escalated in the jungles of the north in recent months, suspected rebels have waged a string of attacks on buses, train stations and other civilian targets, the military said. more..

Sri Lanka says destroys 30 rebel bunkers in north

Feb 6 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops backed by tanks and artillery destroyed 30 Tamil Tiger bunkers in the island's far north on Wednesday killing 12 rebels, while air force jets bombed a gathering of rebel leaders, the military said. The predawn ground fighting along a 'border' that separates government from rebel territory in the far northern Jaffna peninsula comes amid an ever-deepening new chapter of a 25-year civil war analysts say neither side is winning. more..

More parties, more confusion

Feb 7 (LG) This tiny island is saturated with political parties and every now and then we hear a new party is born. Every new party is an addition to the already existing confusion, playing with ideas thinking that each new party is tremendously revolutionary, hypnotising themselves with such words as ‘desha premi’ or lovers of the land etc. etc. Every political party has its own ideas in solving the present crisis. The more parties, the more ideas and as a result more confusion. more..