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World’s most travelled person identifies Lanka as unique destination

Feb 7 (GDI) The worlds foremost traveller Prof. Orhan Kural, identified Sri Lanka without conflict, as one of the top destinations for Globe trotters. Kural who hails from Turkey has been to 190 countries travelling over 900,000 km across the Globe. He believes that Sri Lanka has all the necessary ingredients to be recognised as one of the foremost destinations in world tourism. more..

A legacy much needed for the country

Feb 7 (LG) In dedicating this book to his deceased parents SL Gunasekera has inscribed this epitaph:-"Their legacy to me was not material wealth but something far more worth-an independent spirit." That SL has not only preserved his legacy but has also enriched it needs no elaboration: not only has he preserved and enriched it, he has seen to it that, that legacy becomes the legacy for the present generation as well as generations to come. more..

Rise and Fall of the LTTE - An Overview

Feb 7 (LG) Sri Lankan armed forces have almost ended the capacity of the LTTE to engage in conventional war in the near future. They may also succeed in severely curtailing attempts by the LTTE to resort to sabotage, terrorism and socio-economic disruptions, subsequently. They have also recovered almost the entirety of the territory once held by the LTTE. These achievements, contrary to the expectations of many, have not only attracted the attention of the world, but also its implicit support. more..

Basil visits Menikfarm welfare camp, Vavuniya

Feb 7 (LP) MP Basil Rajapaksa, visited the Menikfarm Welfare Camp village at Settikulam, Vavuniya yesterday. Mr. Rajapaksa personally looked into the facilities provided to Tamil civilians arriving in Government controlled areas after escaping from LTTE clutches. Basil Rajapaksa also inspected the school set up for children of displaced civilians at the Menikfarm Camp premises. He said that they came there on the instructions of the President. more..

Soosai's luxury manson destroyed in air raid- Puthukudduyiruppu

Feb 7 (MoD) Air Force Kfir and F-7 fighter jets yesterday (Feb 6) destroyed a hideout of senior LTTE leader Soosai located 1 Km northeast of Puthukudduyiruppu junction. Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said that 11 LTTE cadres including a very senior LTTE leader were killed in the attack. He added that it has been revealed through unconfirmed sources that Soosai was at the targeted location at the time of the attack. more..

New counting system after voting

Feb 7 (GDI) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told political parties yesterday the time was right to introduce a system to count the votes at the respective polling booth itself at future elections. Mr. Dissanayake pointed out the need to have such a system when he met the secretaries and the representatives of political parties contesting the elections to the Central and Wayamba Provincial Council Elections. more..

University teachers condemn police attack on students & members of staff

Feb 7 (LT) The University Teachers’ Alliance condemning the brutal police attack on students of Kelaniya University on the 5th states the police acted in a very inhuman manner and with scant respect to students as well as the academic staff. Dr. Chandana Abeyratne, Head of the History Department of Kelaniya University states, “We vehemently condemn this incident. For, the police had never intervened in university affairs until this incident. more..

'School curricula needs sex education'

Feb 7 (GDI) School children over 15 years in Sri Lanka averaging 72% are sexually active with 43% engaging in heterosexual activities, 43% in homosexual activities and another 29% watch pornographic films, a study conducted by the STD/AIDS control programme of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry reveals. The study that was carried out in the education sector had strongly recommended introducing sex education in schools. more..

'President has violated election law'

Feb 7 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has violated election regulations by inviting voters to the Presidents House and handing over various presents says Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe. He said the UNP would take legal action against this act of the President. Mr. Wickremasinghe said the President inviting the public to President House and distributing presents is against the existing election law and is a violation of clauses 70 and 92 of the election act. more..

Situation report (Feb 7) by SLA

Feb 7 (SLA) TROOPS of 57 Division attacked LTTE positions in RAMANADAPURAM south and VISUAMADU east inflicting heavy damages to the LTTE on Friday. During search that followed, troops recovered one air craft bomb, eighty-three hand grenades, one body armor, six chargers, one hundred and two Arul bombs, three Rocket Propeller Grenade (RPG) bombs with chargers, twenty detonators, one round of ammunition for RCL weapon, one 81mm mortar bomb, one T-56 weapon, one double cab, more..

Army 58 Division continues to dominate north of A-35

Feb 7 (MoD) Army 58 Division soldiers currently operating north of A-35 road (Paranthan- Mullaittivu) are successfully dominating the areas north of A-35 and west of Challai lagoon, sources in the battlefield reveal. Infantrymen of 12 Gamunu Watch (12GW), 9GW, 6GW 10 and Gajaba Regiment (10 GR), had engaged in heavy confrontations with the terrorists in the Tamarankulam, Verakulam, Ettakokavilkulam areas located about 6 Km north of the A-35 road last morning. more..

Sri Lanka Issue in Canada Parliament

Feb 7 (AT) Canadian Conservative Government Ministers who participated in the Emergency Debate on the Situation in Sri Lanka in the parliament on February 04 were unanimous in their call for a ceasefire and retuning to the negotiating table to solve what they describe as a “critical humanitarian and human rights situation in Sri Lanka.” One cabinet minister in fact declared that the Canadian government “supports the call of the LTTE to discuss with the government of Sri Lanka terms for ending hostilities, more..

Power Ministry to proceed with SLE Bill

Feb 7 (SAMN) The Ministry of Power and Energy will take up the Sri Lanka Electricity (SLE) Bill in Parliament shortly despite opposition from a majority of the Ceylon Electricity Board workers. The Bill meant for the introduction of regulatory reforms had received Cabinet sanction and was ready for presentation in Parliament in mid February. The regulatory and structural reforms of the power sector would be de-linked through the Bill more..

Chairman storms out of Mihin Lanka

Feb 7 (SAMN) Mihin Lanka Chairman Raja Edirisuriya has resigned from his post citing his inability to work with what he termed as an inexperienced management team which oversaw the operations of the budget airline. Mihin Lanka was re-launched on January 1 after the troubled budget airline was grounded since May last year having incurred heavy losses running into some Rs.3.2 billion. more..

'Tell the whole truth'

Feb 7 (MoD) It is unfortunate that spokesmen for INGOs, UN Agencies and other organizations hide most important facts when commenting on the plight of civilians in the Wanni, Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. "The Government has demarcated an area equal to half the total area still to be cleared as a No fire zone and it is the LTTE that is keeping the civilians by force without allowing them to enter that zone. more..

US pressures SL on Anti-Conversion Bill

Feb 7 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, received a letter recently, signed by 15 US Congressmen, requesting that Sri Lanka shelve the proposed legislation outlawing religious conversion. The Bill was approved in January, and a final vote in Sri Lanka’s parliament is expected this month. “We believe this proposed legislation will harm, not protect, the freedom of religion of the Sri Lankan people,” wrote the signatories, more..

Foreign hand behind media attacks: JHU

Feb 7 (SAMN) The strategy behind holding scattered elections in Sri Lanka according to the legal advisor to the JHU, Environment Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila, was to tell the international community that this government was popular and had the backing of the people to annihilate the LTTE and liberate the country from terrorism. He said there were many local and international attempts to stall the forward march of the heroic soldiers. more..

LTTE uses girl child as suicide bomber

Feb 7 (DN) Using children as human bombs and driving explosive laden the trucks into Security Forces defences have become the latest tactics of the LTTE as they face final phase of the battle against the Security Forces in a small area in Puthukudiyiruppu, Military officials observed yesterday. Military officials have come to this conclusion after observing the way LTTE had sent a 14 year girl as a suicide bomber towards the advancing troops at Chalai on Wednesday. more..

Nurses seek compensation for killed colleague’s family

Feb 7 (Island) The Nurses Union wants the government to compensate one of its members killed at a temporary hospital in the Mullaitivu district. The nurse was serving at the Udayarkattu temporary Hospital when she was killed during the offensive. President of the Government Nurses Union Saman Ratnapriya said yesterday that the Union had appealed to the Secretary of the Health Ministry to pay adequate compensation to the deceased’s family. more..

'Pressurise Tigers to release civilians'

Feb 7 (DN) The International community should get together and pressurise the LTTE to release civilians instead of pressurising the Government, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Certain international agencies are pressurising the Government to find a mechanism to work out with the LTTE on an amnesty. “We will not negotiate with the LTTE for any reason until they are militarily destroyed. The amnesty for LTTE cadres to surrender is open,” more..

Food for votes and votes for food

Feb 7 (Island) During elections, anything could become a bludgeon in the hands of politicians all out to beat their rivals like undergraduates engaged in a campus battle. They are guided by Rafferty's rules! A few years ago a group of students used a computer to smash a rival's head at the Jayewardenepura University. In Parliament, politicians have the habit of jabbing one another's private parts with mobile phones when debates get out of hand. more..

Strike from midnight Monday

Feb 7 (DM) Railway Station Masters yesterday decided to stage a 48-hour token strike from midnight on Monday, a union official said. Sri Lanka Station Masters’ Union (SLSMU) President K.V. Jayasena said the members had decided to take trade union action as talks with the Railways management had produced little. “Our main demands are to implement the 6/2006 departmental circular that authorized a salary revision to all grades of Station Masters, more..

Sri Lankan women among those abused in britain- Report

Feb 7 (DM) Three quarters of women seeking refuge in the UK have been victims of rape in their home country and in the UK, a shocking report of rape and sexual abuse released yesterday by the UK Refugee Council said. The report added that 15 percent of the women became pregnant as a result of their ordeal. The countries from which the women have been affected are Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Somalia, the report said. more..

Sri Lanka in danger of whitewash

Feb 7 (CI) It's been a demoralising series for Sri Lanka, but they need to pick themselves up for Sunday's final game to avoid their first-ever whitewash in a five-match contest. Mahela Jayawardene hasn't been able to do much to arrest the slide. He tinkered with the bowling combination in the previous two games but Sri Lanka still leaked in excess of 300 in both matches. His hands have been tied as far as the batting line-up is concerned - the four senior batsmen and the promising Thilina Kandamby being undroppable, leaving little room for personnel changes. more..

Sri Lanka quarantines conflict zone

Feb 7 (TS) After a civil war that has lasted more than a quarter-century, the Sri Lankan government can sense victory against its long-time nemesis, the Tamil Tigers. About 180,000 troops are searching the country's jungles for the last remaining members of the LTTE. But Sri Lanka doesn't want the world to know how it routed its enemy in the northern part of this island. The government has practically shut down access to aid workers, diplomats and reporters. more..

Sri Lanka sees 24% increase in tourists from Middle East

Feb 7 (AB) Middle East travellers visiting Sri Lanka surged by 24 percent in 2008, bucking the global downturn in travel, according to figures released by the Sri Lankan tourist office. The Sri Lankan Tourist Promotions Bureau (SLTB) saw strongest growth in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon and Iranian visitors – making the Middle East the fastest growing source market fr the country. more..

Sri Lanka says Tigers 'infiltrating' media, aid organisations

Feb 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka's top defence official has accused international media and aid organisations of siding with the Tamil Tigers, a report said Saturday, as the military pushed its offensive against the rebels. A day after an angry mob stoned the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Colombo, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said the Tigers were infiltrating relief agencies and news organisations. more..

Red Cross urges safe passage for sick in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (AP) Hundreds of sick and wounded people are stranded in a makeshift hospital in war-wracked northern Sri Lanka, the Red Cross said Saturday as it urged the government and Tamil Tiger rebels to let the patients out of the conflict zone. Meanwhile, the military said 14 rebels, including two leaders, were killed Friday in an air force raid on rebel positions. The chief of the rebel sea wing has been reported missing and could be among the dead. more..

Sri Lanka closes in on Tamil Tiger rebels

Feb 7 (LAT) As the Sri Lankan military tightens the noose around Tamil Tiger guerrillas, squeezing them into an increasingly tight pocket on the island's northeast coast, the government appears closer to winning the war than at almost any time since fighting began a quarter-century ago. Yet after the battle ends, it may prove nearly as difficult to win the peace, according to some analysts. more..

Sri Lanka says Tigers behind ceasefire calls: report

Feb 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka pushed its offensive against the Tamil Tigers Saturday, as the country's top defence official accused the rebels of infiltrating international organisations in a bid to force a ceasefire. As fresh fighting was reported in the north, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse was quoted in the state-run Daily News as saying international relief agencies as well as news organisations were doing the Tigers' bidding. more..

Sri Lankan rebel leader missing, thousands flee war

Feb 7 (Reuters) The stream of civilians fleeing Sri Lanka's war zone picked up speed and air force jets killed 11 guerrillas in a strike that left the leader of the Tamil Tigers' naval wing missing, the military said on Saturday. More than 50,000 soldiers are converging on a tiny wedge of jungle in the Indian Ocean island's northeast to crush the LTTE separatists and end one of Asia's longest-running wars. more..

Bishops voice concern over violence

Feb 8 (CT) Bishops in Sri Lanka have issued a statement to the government, expressing their concern over violence in northern Sri Lanka and at rising numbers of civilian casualties caused by the government’s offensive against the rebel Tamil Tiger group. A UN report said that dozens of civilians had been killed in the latest offensive, with 52 being killed in one day. There was also a report of cluster bombs hitting a hospital in the town of Puthukkudiyiruppu, more..

Sri Lanka clarifies to Denmark's concern over civilians trapped in the war zone

Feb 8 (AT) Denmark’s concern over civilians trapped in the war zone was amply clarified by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister. Danish Foreign Minister expressed his concern over the innocent civilians trapped in the war zone in the North and also appealed to the Sri Lankan Government to enter into a ceasefire with the LTTE. The Danish Foreign Minister Per. Stig Moller telephoned today to the Sri Lanka Foreign Minister and more..

Fresh question marks over future of ethnic Tamilians in Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (AT) The deadline set by the Government of Sri Lanka at the behest of India has come and gone with very few civilians moving out of territory held by the LTTE. A continuing tragedy is about to be compounded with a quarter of a million men, women and children with no escape by way of the sea behind them are about to be pounded with a concentrated barrage of a dozen multi-barrel rocket launchers (MBRLs). more..

Sri Lankan envoy briefs Canadian parliamentarians

Feb 8 (AT) Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada Daya Perera has written a letter to MPs and Senators in the Canadian Parliament apprising them of the situation in the country. The letter, delivered last week, reads: "It is with a deep sense of responsibility for the peoples of Sri Lanka and their ability to live in peace, prosperity and stability that I urgently present this letter informing you about the current situation in Sri Lanka. more..

'On-going conflict – a major obstacle to longer-term development'

Feb 8 (AT) "World Bank’s conviction in formulating the New Assistance Strategy to Sri Lanka it has been observed that the on-going conflict is a major obstacle to the longer-term development of Sri Lanka" said Dr (Ms) Naoko Ishii, World Bank Country Director in Sri Lanka addressing the Business for Peace Forum of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at JAIC Hilton Hotel. more..

Seeds of Hatred

Feb 8 (AT) Ignoring innumerable appeals from diverse quarters, the Tigers are forcibly detaining more than 200,000 civilian Tamils in the conflict zone, as human shields cum cannon-fodder. In a policy decision of outstanding callousness, the Lankan state has abdicated all responsibility for the safety of these hapless unfortunates, held against their will by the LTTE. Responding to a question about the repeated shelling of the Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital and the resultant civilian casualties, more..

'5000 Tamil refugees crossed over'

Feb 8 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government says growing numbers of civilians are crossing over from rebel areas to government-controlled territory in the north, as the army continues its offensive against the Tamil Tigers. Over 5000 Tamil civilians (IDP's) have escaped from uncleared area and sought refuge at army camps at Dharmapuram, Vishwamadu and Kuppilankulam on Saturday, says Rehabilitation and Resettlement Minister Rizat Badiudin. more..

Sri Lanka headline inflation extends fall below core

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's headline inflation fell further below the country's controversial core inflation number, mimicking the US experience in the early 1980s, amid a deflating commodity bubble and fresh attempts to tinker with the index. The latest twist comes at a time when, not only the concept of targeting 'core' inflation, but also that of controlling 'headline' inflation is being questioned, more..

'Help us get rid of Tiger mines'

Feb 8 (AA) While the reconstruction work is moving full steam in the "strife-liberated" eastern province, the Tiger landmines continue to be the biggest impediment for rehabilitating the people and building infrastructure in the region, according to presidential adviser Basil Rajapakse, who is overseeing the post-LTTE development activity in the east and hopes to replicate it in the north as well "pretty soon after the Tigers are completely neutralised." more..

Sri Lanka clinch low-scoring affair

Feb 8 (CI) Sri Lanka overcame a spirited display by Pakistan in the field to clinch a low-scoring affair in Bogra. Having bowled economically and clinically to dismiss Pakistan for a poor total, Sri Lanka overhauled the target for the loss of seven wickets. Shashikala Siriwardene's decision to field in Sri Lanka's first match of the series was justified. The first three bowlers used were extremely frugal and more..

'I don't want to compare myself with anyone'

Feb 8 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara has attributed his rise to the elite of international cricket's one-day bowlers as down to to his perseverance and hard work over the past year. Only five points separate Kulasekara from Daniel Vettori on the ICC's official list of ODI bowlers, and the Sri Lankan medium-pacer said he was just glad to be able to contribute to the team's cause. Kulasekara has climbed to No.2 in the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers after more..

Arjuna blames poor administration for defeat

Feb 8 (CI) Arjuna Ranatunga has hit out at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and ruled out Sri Lanka's chances of another World Cup win if "unprofessional" officials continued to run the game in the country. Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to their only World Cup triumph in 1996, blamed the SLC administrators for Sri Lanka's series defeat to India and more..

Can Karunanidhi save the Tigers?

Feb 8 (LG) Much has been written on how the two main Dravidian parties -- the DMK and AIADMK -- routinely go against the "rational" tenets they were founded on. The fact that AIADMK is headed by Jayalalitha, a Brahmin, who caused a stampede during her first tenure as CM by turning up in Kumbakonam -- along with Sasikala Natarajan for a holy bath -- at its once in 12 year tryst with divinity, is old hat. more..

Former non aligned leader, India now all out for Mahinda war on terror

Feb 8 (LG) I recently got the opportunity to participate in a conference in Tamil Nadu. It was a strange conference with pro establishment calling for post LTTE democracy while others insisted on a peace accord and discussions with the LTTE. Dr S Narayan, B Raman, R Swami Nathan, Dr Chandrasekaran and Col Hariharan stood for the establishment while Dr Carr and Dr Nainan Koshy stood for the radicals. more..

Dilemma of depositors

Feb 8 (LG) The anxiety continues. Throughout the week, this newspaper received anxious calls from investors in several deposit-collecting institutions, some registered with the Central Bank, some not. This has been the case, in fact, for many weeks now after Sakvithi and the Golden Key Credit Card Co. collapsed. Many were at a loss about what to do as panic crept into the financial sector and depositors sought to withdraw their money fearing a collapse of the entire non-banking financial system, which is actually not the case. more..

Politics by other means

Feb 8 (LG) The politics of the world does not revolve around an altruistic axis. The world powers talk about humanitarian interventions not without selfish intentions. Politics as we know, is about multiple discourses. When we talk about the plight of the civilian Eelam Tamils we begin to catch glimpses pathetic human beings through the fog of war. The world powers, sadly have kept their silence for better part of the long-drawn Sri Lankan conflict -- only to issue, at times, some token public statements. more..

And then they came for the media

Feb 8 (SL) Sri Lanka is hitting rock bottom in media freedom indices, and that's not news. Going by the trend here, there is every likelihood the island would make steady progress in the area of curbing media freedom to the exclusion of all else, with the country probably heading the list, from the bottom order. With the incidents in January causing worldwide concern with a debilitating arson attack on MBC/ MTV stations, more..

Humanitarian concerns mount as govt. prepares for final push

Feb 8 (SL) A well-orchestrated military push has cornered the LTTE and a jubilant President Mahinda Rajapakse in his Independence Day speech predicted the total annihilation of the Tigers "within days." It was his interpretation that during the six decades of post independence, three were wastefully spent, fighting a war that had sucked the nation's lifeblood. Rajapakse in his address assured true independence in the weeks to come when the LTTE is completely annihilated. more..

'Killing LTTE cadres will not kill the cause'

Feb 8 (SL) Secretary General, EPRLF and TNA Parliamentarian, Suresh Premachandran believes that killing people cannot kill an idea and predicts the continuance of the LTTE despite the Tigers losing territory to the Sri Lankan armed forces. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Premachandran alleged there were scores of civilians being injured and killed despite the existence of a so-called safe zone. more..