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Polls end peacefully with less violations

Feb 15 (NS) The Central and North Western Provincial Council elections were concluded by 4 last evening with an average voter turnout of 55-60% and with a comparatively less number of election violations and violence as claimed by polls monitors. About 65 incidents of election violations were reported yesterday, Additional Elections Commissioner W.P. Sumanasiri said. The highest number of violations was reported from the Kandy District, 34 while 12 incidents were reported from the Kurunegala District. more..

Computer experts enlisted for Golden Key investigation

Feb 15 (Island) The Police and the Attorney General’s Department working on the Golden Key case are being assisted by experts to download and interpret computerized information from the company’s data base, well informed sources familiar with the investigation said yesterday. These sources said that some well known personalities and connected parties were among the large investors at Golden Key. These included professionals, sportsmen, politicians and other VIPs. more..

The Nationalist Papers: Nationalism is a responsibility

Feb 15 (Island) We live in times where ‘patriotism’ is either a virtue or a crime. Patriotism, like peace, is not anyone’s private property, but the term is tossed around (loosely) by those who swear by it and by those who are equally rabid in taking issue with them. The result is that it has been reduced to a rhetorical tool and nothing else. "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," Samuel Johnson said more than two hundred years ago and more..

Brown bombshell in battle with Britain

Feb 15 (ST) As troops stepped up their efforts to flush out Tiger guerrillas from the little remaining terrain in the Mullaitivu district, the Government redoubled its efforts to counter international pressure to halt its military campaign. These events overshadowed even yesterday's elections to the North Western and Central Provincial Councils. Whether the foregone conclusion - an overwhelming victory for the UPFA - made it a lacklustre event will be clearer when results are announced today. more..

Protected animal?

Feb 15 (Island) The communication by the attorney-general last week to the Colombo High Court that he was withdrawing the indictment against Labour Minister Mervin Silva in a case involving the roughing-up a Sirasa cameraman and damaging his equipment will no doubt strengthen the public perception that this particular individual is a protected animal. Mercifully, Silva has kept out of trouble for some time now, possibly because more..

Tamil Journalist killed in Sri Lanka artillery barrage

Feb 15 (TW) Puniyamoorthy Sathiyamoorthy, journalist and political analyst, well-known and highly respected by the Tamils around the globe, sustained serious injuries in the Sri Lanka Army artillery barrage Thursday, Feb 12th on Theavipuram in the ’safety zone’ declared by government in Mullaitheevu district in Vanni, and succumbed to his wounds. Lack of proper medical attention contributed to his death, according to relatives who cared for him after the incident. more..

'I told them we would not cave in'

Feb 15 (TS) In Sri Lanka, deemed one of the most perilous countries for journalists to cover, Lal Wickrematunga is determined to keep publishing his crusading newspaper. This is despite the murder last month of his younger brother, Lasantha, 52, who had honed a reputation as an intrepid journalist for the Sunday Leader. The staff of the Leader was worried that the murder would prove to be too much for Lal Wickrematunga, who founded the newspaper with his brother. more..

Living in the shadows: The lace-makers of Galle

Feb 15 (ST) Galle lace, Beeralu lace, Portuguese lace, you have heard about it, but have you seen it? Bought it? Used it? A legacy of Portuguese colonization, beeralu lace making has long been considered a traditional craft of Sri Lanka. Today, a small concentration of women still continue this craft mainly in the Magalle area of Galle but it is an art form in crisis. They fight old age, poor market conditions and poverty to keep the craft going. more..

Frantic moves to get pain-killers

Feb 15 (ST) A high-level probe is underway to ascertain how a large stock of pethidine injections, used as pain-killer, expired and had to be discarded a few weeks ago, while frantic efforts were on to airlift this essential and potent pain-killer as soon as possible from India. The Auditor-General's Department will carry out an investigation on how this stock of pethidine worth many millions expired, said a health source when contacted by The Sunday Times to ask whether short-expiry stocks had been brought into the country. more..

Independent Trust to deal with Golden Key deadlock

Feb 15 (ST) A Trust, independent of the Ceylinco Group and including four judges as trustees, is to be set up to plan and coordinate the recovery and repayments to depositors of the failed Golden Key Credit Card Co., the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate’s court was told on Friday. The proposed trustees are Justice Andrew Somawansa, Justice Nimal Dissanayake Justice Stanley Gunawardene, Justice S. Wimalachandra, K.A. Wijesekera and Sujeewa Rajapakse, Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Sarath Jayamanna told more..

Sri Lanka braces for bloodier Tiger battles

Feb 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government hoped Tamil Tiger rebels could be defeated in days, but both sides are now warning bloodier battles may lie ahead -- and civilians are likely to pay a heavy price. Security forces have cornered the retreating Tigers in the north of the island after over three bloody decades of fighting, the rebels' de facto state has been smashed and Sri Lanka's army says there are only 700 guerrillas left. more..

Red Cross is in talks to resume Sri Lanka war zone food convoys

Feb 15 (BN) The International Committee of the Red Cross is in talks with the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels on resuming food convoys to civilians caught in war zones after halting deliveries last month amid increased fighting. The ICRC is also seeking to ensure safe passage for civilians from Mullaitivu district, the last area held by the LTTE, Sophie Romanens, a spokeswoman, said today by phone from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. more..

UPFA wins new round of polls

Feb 15 (Reuters) Ruling party on Sunday won two provincial council elections, seen as a precursor to an early national poll and an endorsement of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's war against Tamil separatists. And for the first time since Sri Lanka put a new constitution in place in 1978, the Department of Elections cancelled results due to voting irregularities. The election board said results showed UPFA had won the Central Province poll with 59.5 percent to the main opposition UNP's 38.7 percent. more..

Prabhakaran still in Sri Lanka, say surrendered rebels

Feb 15 (IANS) Sri Lanka's elusive Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is still in the country's north, two suicide cadres who have surrendered to the military were Sunday quoted as saying. Prabhakaran, facing the most serious crisis since Tamil insurgency broke out over a quarter century ago, remains holed up in the rapidly shrinking territory still held by the LTTE, more..

Strategic Mistake by LTTE

Feb 16 (LG) In recent history there is only one example of an absolute victory over a terrorist group, that too from South Asia. The Indian forces completely destroyed the Khalistan terror groups in Operation Blue Star in 1984. Today the Khalistan terror groups are limited to a few diapora supporters in Canada, US and UK. Currently, Sri Lanka is at the threshold of being the second example of an absolute victory over a terrorist group, the LTTE. more..

Economists vs economists

Feb 16 (LG) A former US president once asked where he could find a one-handed economist. Asked the reason for this strange request, he said, “Most economists, I come across, when asked to offer suggestions to a problem say, ‘on one hand, this should be done … but also say … on the other hand, this (another solution) should be done.” This episode is often related – and was done at a recent discussion - to illustrate how economists often don’t think alike. more..

Deva next CM of the Northern Province ?

Feb 16 (LG) I write to reiterate that Douglas Devananda would be elected the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. He is already the de facto Chief Minister. The people of Jaffna including the clergy are flocking around him, supporting him and seeking his assistance in every conceivable aspect. Although this may not be acknowledged personally and individually there is tremendous support for Douglas Devananda and he is even now considered as the only legitimate Leader of the Northern Province. more..

Provincial poll indicates people want the pacifists

Feb 16 (LG) Although the outcome of the provincial elections was a foregone conclusion with President Mahinda Rajapakse riding the crest of potential end to Tiger terror, it was also evident, as never ever before to such an extent, that the grass root population has come really aware, alive and active. After all, unlike the previous heads of state with the exception of W Dahanayake of Galle, President Rajapakse is truly a man of the grass roots. more..

President Pratibha Patil! Are you insane?

Feb 16 (LG) With due respect to Indian President Pratibha Patil, unfortunately she has got her wires crossed on the Sri Lankan Terrorist conflict and advising us how to run the country. According to media reports addressing the Indian Parliament, she has (a) appealed to the Sri Lankan government and to the LTTE to return to the negotiating table for a negotiated settlement and (b) that this can be achieved if, simultaneously, the Government of Sri Lanka suspends its military operations and more..

Faith In Jesus Christ

Feb 16 (LG) My long road to become a doctor of medicine was only the beginning. After that came years of hospital work, research, specialty training, and certifying examinations. Then followed many years of teaching, service, and the challenges of the newly emerging field of open-heart surgery, all of which brought me to a profound reverence for the structure and function of the human body. I was convinced that its creation was divine. more..

'I'm just going to enjoy it'

Feb 16 (CI) As one leader leaves, another captain arrives. That will be the current that runs right through Sri Lanka's two-Test series against Pakistan. Every decision a captain makes is anyway scrutinised and analysed, but the ones made by a man who knows his time is up and one by a man who knows his time has come warrant a separate category altogether. If Younis Khan can become half the captain Mahela Jayawardene has mostly been, he will be some captain. more..

'We've got to keep working on our fielding'

Feb 16 (CI) Trevor Bayliss, the Sri Lanka coach, has responded to chief selector Asantha de Mel's criticism on the team's poor fielding by saying that while the most of the players are not outstanding fielders, they will continue to work hard on that aspect of their game. "A lot of them probably know they are never going be a Jonty Rhodes but we've just got to keep working hard," Bayliss said before the team's departure for the two Tests in Pakistan. more..

Settling conflicts after the war and doing what is right

Feb 16 (GV) Amidst night cricket, world records, 20-20 cricket, and Deyata Kirula in another part of the country a grim battle rages. Caregivers have lost faith in justice and seek to die with those trapped than watch the horror. Some feel we are profiting on their misery. Many are tortured, scarred and traumatized by their experiences. Thousands are unable to make it out on their own freewill and will need to be led to safety in the next few days or many will die. more..

We face unfair competition in Sri Lankan market: Airtel

Feb 16 (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which launched its operations in Sri Lanka last month promising to provide the best and cheapest service, is already facing "unfair competition" with other players in the local market, a company official says. Johann Munaweera, corporate communications manager of Bharti Airtel Lanka, told IANS that the company's customers were experiencing "call congestion" when phoning up people on other networks, forcing them to make several tries before finally getting through. more..

Govt wins a hollow victory in provincial elections

Feb 16 (wsws) The ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) won Sri Lanka’s provincial council elections held on Saturday, with a clear majority in Central Province. The outcome for the other province—Northwestern—has not been announced as a rerun has been called in one booth in Puttalam district following alleged vote rigging. Results to date, however, indicate that the UPFA will also secure control of that provincial council. more..

Ranatunga vows to return as cricket chief

Feb 16 (Gulf) Arjuna Ranatunga has had many highs and lows during his illustrious career as a cricketer and an cricket administrator. However, the former Sri Lankan skipper is embarking on a new powerplay match with the cricket administrators who have unceremoniously dumped him. The veteran left-hander is confident of crossing all hurdles in his bid to regain his post as Sri Lanka Cricket President and achieve much more. more..

With the apparent defeat of the LTTE 1976 Vaddukodai resolution laid to eternal rest

Feb 16 (TC) The military thrust against the LTTE and thereby weakening them, has certainly offered fresh options to the moderate Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka. The Tamil parties have two options. Either join hands together or work separately but with a view to aiming at a common goal – to achieve a substantial political solution to the Tamil minority. With the apparent defeat of the LTTE, it is no secret that even the Vaddukodai resolution of 1976 is laid to eternal rest. more..

'Impossible to defend consolidation of Sinhala chauvinism'

Feb 16 (TC) In a recent essay in the Economic and Political Weekly, the political scientist Neil DeVotta quotes a Sri Lankan Government Minister as saying: ‘The Sinhalese are the only organic race of Sri Lanka. Other communities are all visitors to the country, whose arrival was never challenged out of the compassion of the Buddhists. But they must not take this compassion for granted. The Muslims are here because our kings let them trade here and the Tamils because they were allowed to take refuge when the Moguls were invading them in India. more..

Prabhakaran's project of separate Tamil state is militarily crushed

Feb 16 (TC) A smiling Valentine was there for the UPFA on 14th February. Elections for the Central and Wayamba (North-West) provincial councils brought a clear victory in both provinces, with Kurunegala district in Wayamba showing how much the Sinhala war psyche works for the Rajapaksa regime. War for the Sinhala people had been won and over. But for analysts, it is not yet. Ashok Mehta, a retired Indian Army General who has served in Sri Lanka , told Al Jazeera after the suicide attack in Visvamadu on 09th Monday, more..

Internationalising the Internal Crisis

Feb 16 (LG) ‘Today, there are more nations and governments that are ready to acknowledge the oft-repeated Sri Lankan Government charge that the LTTE has been using Tamil civilians as ‘human shields’ than they had done ever before. There are also more institutions the world over that are ready to wait out an LTTE version – or that of the Government – before passing a verdict . For every charge of the Sencholai kind, there is one like the Vishwamadu suicide-strike. Human lives have become human shields and ‘HR brands’. more..

Enhancing spoken English skills of teachers

Feb 16 (GDI) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha highlighted the Government's decision of declaring the year 2009 as `English and IT'and said the Education Ministry has implemented several programs to improve the spoken English skills of nearly 60 per cent English teachers in Government schools to fulfil this objective. He said that improving the spoken English skills of teachers is a must at this juncture for the teachers and their pupils who will greatly benefit by this Presidential Task Force program. more..

Security forces, public servants to benefit from new Pensions Act

Feb 16 (GDI) In a generous gesture towards the armed forces, police personnel, and the public servants, Widows and Orphans’ Pensions Act will be amended soon, in a rare initiative taken by the Public Administration and Deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama. With the new amendments on table, siblings of the employees will be entitled to draw a full salary in case they were killed or disabled while on duty. This will continue until such time the employee would have the age of 55. more..

Triumph of the motherland - President

Feb 16 (GDI) The election victory of the UPFA at the Central and North Western Provincial Council Election is a triumph of all those who love the Motherland, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a statement issued yesterday on the outcome of the polls. “This is an election in which the victor is the nation. It is a defeat suffered by internal and external forces that tried to devalue the victories achieved by the war heroes. more..

'People have endorsed military victories, not the moves by the govt'

Feb 16 (LT) People have used their votes to approve the victories of the Security Forces but not the sinister moves of the government says Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. Mr. Herath said the government conducted its election campaign highlighting the victories achieved by the Security Forces. They didn’t have anything to say about any development in the two provincial councils. more..

Centre urged to ensure safety of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (Hindu) Two Tamil organisations here staged a protest urging the Government to ensure the safety of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Over 2,000 members of the Bangalore Tamil Sangam and the youth wing of the International Tamil People Organisation (ITPO) took out a rally from R.B.A.N.M.S. grounds to the Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Sunday. They later submitted a memorandum to the Governor, who assured them of forwarding it to President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. more..

Signs of the Times

Feb 16 (PISL) Yet another splendid example of the misuse of the English language emerged last week with an article in the Times headlined 'Barbed wire villages raise fears of refugee concentration camps'. The first line of the article was in the passive voice - 'Sri Lanka was accused yesterday of planning concentration camps to hold 200,000 ethnic Tamil refugees from its northeastern conflict zone for up to three years - and seeking funding for the project from Britain.' more..

Air Force destroys 3 suicide boats

Feb 16 (SAMN) Sri Lankan fighter jets pounded LTTE attack craft, sinking two and destroying another, even as advancing troops killed six Tamil Tigers in fierce clashes in the embattled north, the army said on Sunday. Air Force MiG-27 fighter jets launched precision air strikes at identified LTTE attack craft sinking two, while destroying another in the north of the Mullaittivu lagoon, Air Force spokesperson Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara said. more..

President to meet Tamil parties

Feb 16 (SAMN) In a surprise move President Mahinda Rajapaksa, disarming his critics in India, has decided to call a meeting of TNA, TULF , EPDP, CWC and other Tamil political parties of Sri Lanka on 'democracy' road map for the 'liberated areas'. The meeting will take place in about a week and may coincide with the army virtually liquidating the Tigers in their very Wanni stronghold. more..

CMEV welcomes Polls Chief’s action

Feb 16 (SAMN) The Centre from Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) Sunday welcomed the Elections Chief’s decision to annual the polling. The following is the full text of the CMEV statement: "CMEV notes the decision of the Commissioner of Elections to declare the results of No 47 polling station at P/Nayakkaarcchenai Tamil Vidyalaya null and void and to re-poll in that station. The decision was on account of confirmed malpractices. more..

UNP vows to carry on ‘peoples’ struggle

Feb 16 (SAMN) Despite its defeat at Saturday’s election, the UNP vowed yesterday to carry forward it struggle for people’s rights, democracy and the alleviation of the suffering of the masses. Issuing a statement, UNP General Secretary MP Tissa Attanayake said that the government, which was suppressing media freedom, had started an increasingly dangerous trend by killing Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and attacking Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon, more..

Situation report (Feb 16) by SLA

Feb 16 (SLA) TWO 130 mm artillery gun plus one arty barrel of the LTTE were found by 53 Division troops commanded by Brigadier KAMAL GOONARATNE this morning (16) from the general area west of PUTHUKUDIYIRUPPU. Those barrels had been applied with grease and wrapped in polythene when the troops of 5 VIR (Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment) operating under the 533 Brigade found them buried in a 7" X 9" pit by terrorists before they had fled the area in the wake of troops’ advance. more..

Kingdom offers aid to Lankan charity

Feb 16 (AN) The Kingdom has donated SR75,000 to the Islamic Center for the Physically Handicapped (ICPH) in Sri Lanka. Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulaziz Al-Jammaz handed the check to ICPH Director Jiffry Haniffa at a simple function held at the Saudi mission in Colombo. The handing over was also attended by Omar Hashim, director of the Independent Television Network and adviser to the IPCH. more..

Colombo resolves not to relent on ceasefire

Feb 16 (AA) Even as its troops are pushing hard to "clear" those remaining 150-odd sq kms of Tiger territory, Sri Lankan government must now battle a new adversary opening up a fresh flank of attack, non-military though. There is growing disaffection among those who matter in the government that a potent international lobby is fast evolving to halt the soldier’s march just when an end appeared in sight to this 30-year-old bloody war that has consumed over 75,000 lives so far. more..

Pax Sinhala?

Feb 16 (AT) A Sinhala supremacist war cannot but result in a Sinhala peace, imposed on a defeated Tamil populace. A Sinhala supremacist war cannot end in a just political solution for the North East; instead the Tamil areas of the two provinces will be handed over to tame Tamil warlords and their Lankan military minders, to guard and guide, to control and subdue. A Sinhala supremacist war can unite Sri Lanka geographically, the same way she was one and indivisible from 1956 till the mid 1980’s, more..

CIMA appoints Sri Lankan Divisional Consultative Group

Feb 16 (AT) Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has appointed a local Consultative Group to advise on the affairs of its Sri Lankan Division during the period of suspension of the Divisional Council. The Consultative Group will suggest appropriate arrangements for restoring an elected Divisional representative body, and will be providing a focal point for advice to CIMA on its members and student support in the region. more..

ENDLF’s appeal for India’s intervention

Feb 16 (AT) In an appeal addressed to India’s Home Minister P. Chidamparam, Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF) has urged for the immediate Indian intervention to save over a quarter million Tamils trapped in the ongoing fighting in Northern Sri Lanka. The appeal addressed by G Gnanasekaran, President of India based Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front said that you may be aware that our party is one of the two Eelam Tamil liberation organisations which accepted the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and more..

Most wounded 'civilians'

Feb 16 (BBC) The health minister of the eastern province says that most injured brought to hospitals in Trincomalee from the war torn north are civilians. Minister MLAM Hisbullah, told BBC Sandeshaya that the majority of those transferred by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from LTTE held territory are civilians caught in "shell, artillery and mortar" attacks. more..

Demonstration in front of Danish Parliament to urge LTTE to release the Tamil civilians

Feb 16 (AT) Sri Lankans in Denmark and the friends of Sri Lanka, are to demonstrate in front of Danish Parliament in Copenhagen on the coming Friday, 20th February to urge for the Security and Freedom of the Tamil civilians. Paul Sommer one of the organizers of the demonstration when speaking to Asian Tribune said Sri Lankans in Denmark and friends of Sri Lanka, urges all parties to the conflict in Sri Lanka to ensure more..

Boston Globe should apologize to Sri Lankan people

Feb 16 (MoD) As the communication facilities of LTTE terrorists fell in the Wanni when Sri Lankan troops marched in, the Tigers found a savoir to broadcast their hatred propaganda. The Boston Globe has gladly stepped in to fill the void. The Op-ed column "Genocide in Sri Lanka" by Bruce Fein in the Globe on Sunday, February 15, is a clear example of the paper's new-found affection for the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world. more..

Government policies endorsed

Feb 16 (DN) Politicians and civil society representatives attributed the UPFA’s victory at the North Western and Central Provincial Council election to the Government’s vibrant and dynamic policies. They hailed President Mahinda Rajapaksa for saving the country from the precipice of division and creating a society for all citizens to live in peace. Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera yesterday said the people have placed unwavering confidence in President Rajapaksa who is dedicated to eradicate the LTTE and unite the country under one flag. more..