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Paying homage to an icon in the education arena

Feb 16 (DN) “The Third World countries need not permit their own past or the image of the industrialised countries to dominate their vision. Let them formulate for themselves a vision for a better future that is achievable and let them be free in all directions.” (From Education in the Third World:Some Reflections” by Prof. J.E. Jayasuriya.) Since the author voiced that worthy wish much water has flown under Lanka’s bridges. And he himself is no more. more..

Govt. bags Central PC, leads in NWP, where results are suspended

Feb 16 (Island) The ruling UPFA comfortably secured the Central Province winning 11 out of 13 electorates and won the North Western Province in all but name in Saturday’s elections widely considered a referendum on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s war on LTTE terror. The final results in the NWP have not yet been announced due to the cancellation of results at one polling station in Puttalam. more..

President wins 'referendum' on war

Feb 16 (Island) That the government would score a crushing victory over the UNP and the JVP at Saturday's PC polls was a foregone conclusion. If there was a person who refused to come to terms with that electoral reality, it was UNP’s Central Province Chief Ministerial candidate S. B. Dissanayake. He put on a bold face and bragged that even if President Mahinda Rajapaksa were to contest for the chief ministerial post in the Central Province, the UNP would still win. more..

SB heads for record preference count

Feb 16 (DM) UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake said last night that he was heading for a record percentage of preferential votes gained by any candidate at an election. Speaking to Daily Mirror by phone from Kandy, Mr. Dissanayake said that of the preference votes counted by that time, he had more than 78 percent of preferences from the total number of votes polled by the UNP in the Kandy district. more..

Probe Hashan’s charges

Feb 16 (DM) Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Hashan Tillekaratne in a hard-hitting statement against the current administration of the sport, if there was one, charged that senior members in the team were at work and that it was extremly difficult for aspiring players to make it to the national team. His remarks came a day after Sri Lanka screwed up a possible chance of beating world champions India in the country’s inaugural Twenty-20 match and more..

Tourist arrivals fall 32-pct in January

Feb 16 (LBO) Foreign visitors to Sri Lanka plunged 32.4 percent in January 2009 to 38,468 compared with the same month last year, the island's tourist promotion office said, with a global economic crisis depressing leisure travel. Arrivals from Western Europe, a key generating market that is crucial to keep coastal resorts in jam, fell 25.2 percent to 15,674. The UK generated 15 percent less visitors at 6,599, Germany 4,674 and the Netherlands 40 percent less at 1,214. more..

'Sri Lanka needs prompt coherent action to survive global slump'

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs "prompt and coherent" policy action to counter a global slump which was slowing demand for exports and making it difficult for the government and private firms to borrow abroad, a top think tank has said. "It is essential that prompt and coherent policy action is taken in order to address the challenges that will be faced in the coming months," the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a semi-government think tank, said. more..

Red Cross evacuates 400 from war zone

Feb 16 (AFP) The Red Cross evacuated Monday a ferry load of 400 civilians wounded in fighting between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels. The injured and their accompanying relatives were shipped out of the conflict zone in the northeast of the island and taken for "further medical treatment," ICRC spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said. The ICRC carried out similar sea evacuations twice last week, bringing 745 wounded from Puttumattalan to the government-controlled northeastern seaport town of Trincomalee. more..

25 years of civil war in Sri Lanka may see an end

Feb 16 (RT) As wars go, the one that has gripped this island country in South Asia has rarely been at the foreground of the World's attention. Supporters of human rights have been rightly outraged recently by regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe and Sudan, but Sri Lanka rarely gets a mention. Now, having already claimed the lives of over 70,000 and displaced more than 200,000 people, the conflict looks as though it is entering its final, violent phase. more..

'We did not know where to run'

Feb 16 (IRIN) Life started changing in April 2008 for Kanagavel, a 40-year-old Tamil living in Kilinochchi District, who worked as a driver in a government department, when the Vanni became the latest battlefield between Sri Lankan government forces and the LTTE. The Vanni is an area encompassing the two districts of Kilonochchi and Mulaithivu and parts of Mannar and Vavunya districts in the north. more..

Rupee at all-time low on dollar demand

Feb 16 (Reuters) Rupee hit a new all-time low on Monday on importer demand for dollars despite some state ban protection, while shares edged up in thin trade on select blue chips. The rupee closed at 114.30/114.35, down from Monday's close of 114.10/20, on demand for dollers to settle import bills, currency dealers said. Four analysts from four banks Reuters spoke to said two state banks intervened in the market at various levels, to keep the rupee steady. more..

British police charge man, reportedly Tamil, with arson

Feb 16 (AFP) British police have charged a man with arson and affray after he reportedly tried to set himself on fire outside Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street offices, they said on Sunday. Sivsubarmazam Logeswaran, 41, of Gloucestershire in western England, is due in court on Monday "charged with arson with intent to endanger life and affray following an incident at Downing Street" in London on Saturday. more..

'India will intervene if LTTE lays down arms'

Feb 16 (PTI) Putting the onus on the LTTE for halting the Sri Lankan military offensive in the north of the island nation, Home Minister P Chidambaram has said if the outfit laid down arms, India would intervene and arrange for a negotiated settlement to the vexed ethnic issue. "Our (Congress) policy is clear. LTTE is an armed militant group. They must announce that they are willing to lay down arms and are prepared for talks. Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan Government should suspend its military offensive," more..

Rebels killing civilians who flee Sri Lanka war zone: UN

Feb 16 (AFP) Tamil Tiger guerrillas have prevented tens of thousands of civilians from leaving Sri Lanka's war zone and those trying to escape have been "shot and sometimes killed," the United Nations said Monday. The Tiger soldiers are holding non-combatants in the small patch of jungle in the north of the island where the rebels have been cornered by government forces. "A growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed," more..

A testimony of a Christian called to serve the Lord

Feb 17 (LG) I was deeply moved by the article written by Elder Russell M. Nelson on Faith In Jesus Christ on Sunday, February 15, 2009 in the Sri Lanka Guardian. I was emotionally stirred and I broke down. It was then that I decided that I should write my testimony as well and expose my inner self as we came alone, we live some moments and go alone. But as for me all throughout my life, the major portion of my life I have been alone. more..

Prabhakaran squandered away both Eelam and Federalism in one stroke

Feb 17 (LG) The political capital that Prabhakaran squandered away during his failed insurgency killed the concept of both Eelam and as well as federalism with it. The canons of liberation he preached showed no discernible traits of federalism or any other political strategy, but a blatant one party state headed by him. The Muslim communities he dispossessed in Puttlam, Mannar and the East as well as the Sinhalese villages he attacked savagely in Kebilithigollawa and more..

Laced with lies and falsehood

Feb 17 (LG) We thank Professor Shelton Gunaratne for sharing what appeared in the webmedia on the provincial elections. We ourselves have noted the pro-terrorism activities and have commented on it as well. This webmedia serves a group of extremely rich Diaspora who have absolutely no feelings for the people of Sri Lanka even for their kith and kin on the island. As is said of such filthy rich people, they get a sadistic orgasmic thrill out of the antics of Prabhakaran and his terror gang. more..

The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project

Feb 17 (LG) At present, ships transiting between the coasts of India have to go all the way around Sri Lanka because of a reef called Adam’s Bridge at Pamban, near Rameswaram Island. At Pamban, the depth of water is 11 feet. This canal was first proposed in 1860 by a British officer of the Royal Indian Navy, then known as the Indian Marine. He proposed cutting a ship canal called the Sethusamudram Ship Canal through Rameswaram Island that would reduce the steaming distances between the west and east coasts and more..

Soosai mystery lives on...

Feb 17 (LG) The LTTE sea tigers leader Thillaiyampalam Sivanesan alias "Soosai" resurrected from the dead for the seventh time in the last 10 years, reliable sources of the Tamil Tigers said. The Sri Lankan military acknowledged the miracle a few days ago, but declined to elaborate on the details. They said: "It is still not clear whether it was Soosai who resurrected from the dead or whether Prabhakaran was the one who made Soosai to rise from the dead." more..

Norway has erred immensely

Feb 17 (LG) After a period of silence I saw Norway raising its concerned voice about Sri Lankan matters on this website Sri Lanka Guardian. Talking to this website just a few days ago Norway's prominent peace horse Erik Solhheim has said "I am very sorry the situation in Sri Lanka has become so extreme. It is a bloodbath in which tens or hundreds are killed every day, and it's going from bad to worse." more..

What if the LTTE had won the war?

Feb 17 (LG) If one believes the vociferous proponents of LTTE belonging to sundry political parties of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam on the terms of LTTE would be a paradise on earth. Though we all know it remains as a distant dream, there is nothing wrong in visualising a Tamil Eelam where the LTTE would be the authority and its supremo Velupillai Prabakaran would be the supreme authority. On forming a separate nation, Tamil Eelam carved out of northern Sri Lanka, more..

UK Should Restore the Sovereignty of Tamil Nation

Feb 17 (LG) On February 12 2009, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom appointed the Right Honorable Des Browne MP as his Special Envoy for Sri Lanka to focus on the immediate humanitarian situation in northern Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka’s work to set out a political solution to the ethnic conflict. But the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cabinet said the appointment was “unhelpful” and was made without consulting them. more..

Western media fails to acknowledge the direct link between the LTTE and civilian hostages

Feb 17 (AT) The announcement by the President that he has invited all Tamil political parties, including the LTTE proxy, the TNA, for talks about the development of the North and the East and also about ways and means of addressing the political conflict can only be described as an act of a true Statesman. To all detractors, he has shown once again that he is a genuine believer that there is no military solution to this conflict and more..

Canada’s development partnership with Sri Lanka hailed

Feb 17 (AT) "The Government’s immediate concern is providing food, shelter and other facilities to the displaced people who have fled LTTE controlled areas. The fleeing L.T.T.E leadership has only left a collection of bunkers, air strips, and luxurious houses and nothing else for the civilians. Therefore, we have to rebuild infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads so that people can return to their lands; we have to recruit and train teachers, more..

EU MP blasts British decision to appoint a special envoy to Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (AT) EU parliamentarian Nirj Deva [Niranjan Devaadithya] criticizes the appointment of former British Defence Secretary Des Browny as a special envoy for Sri Lanka and said it is not an official way to appoint an official . He said the British government fails to follow diplomatic ways and this step violates sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Mr. Devadithya said that the government of Sri Lanka kept silence and in the end followed diplomatic way to reject the appointment. more..

UNICEF Flays LTTE for continuously recruiting children

Feb 17 (AT) With a growing number of children being recruited by the LTTE and scores of children being killed or injured in fighting, UNICEF today expressed its gravest concerns for children, as Sri Lanka’s conflict enters a new phase. "We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted," said Mr Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s Representative in Sri Lanka. more..

Hillary Clinton and Misunderstanding the LTTE

Feb 17 (MN) Ever since I started voting I have generally supported the Democratic Party, its policies, and its candidates. Early in the recent Presidential Primaries I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. I felt that she had what it took to steer America on a safe course through the troubling times that I felt were ahead for this country once the “bubble had burst.” more..

India mistaken on arms and talks - experts

Feb 17 (TN) Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram’s call for the LTTE to surrender arms was not in keeping with international practice on conflict resolution, but an endorsement of the Sri Lankan government’s hardline position, scholars of conflict and peace said Monday. They pointed a number of successful peace processes, including those with the ANC, IRA and Nepal’s Maoists had proceeded without making arms surrender a precondition for talks. more..

Verbal shows fail to save lives in Vanni

Feb 17 (TN) “War is also theirs, peace is also theirs; therefore the solution also should be theirs. Why don’t they come out with that and end the suffering?” asked a sulking school teacher in Vanni, frustrated at the diplomatic games and dilly-dallying of world powers in protecting the life and dignity of civilians, neither by themselves nor allowing the UN to do it. But the solution some of the powers envisage in what they call the ‘post-LTTE era’ goes back to the concentration camps of the Nazi times. more..

Eight Muslims MPCs elected; none from UPFA

Feb 17 (PSM) A significant feature at Saturday’s Central and North Western Provincial Councils polls was the non election of a single Muslim candidate on the UPFA list in the four districts where the results were announced. Eight Muslims were elected on the UNP list in the Kandy and Kurunegala districts with one Tamil also elected from Kandy while the UPFA failed to get even a single Tamil candidate elected in the districts of Kurunegala, Matale and Kandy. more..

UNP goes to courts against UPFA nomination list for Central PC

Feb 17 (LT) The UNP is preparing to take legal action against the election of UPFA members including the chief ministerial candidate for the Central PC. UNP sources say the case will be filed within the next two weeks. According to these sources the case will be filed against the use of state property, vehicles and officials in the UPFA campaign and the President, as the leader of the party acting in a way violating election regulations. more..

AG withdraws case against Tirran Alles

Feb 17 (LT) All cases that had been filed against Tirran Alles, former Chairman, Airports and Aviation Services and Chairman of Standard Newspapers Ltd and its Director Dhushyantha Basnayake accusing them of aiding a mother of Emil Kanthan, a LTTE member to buy a house have been withdrawn by the Attorney General. The AG has informed court that there were no charges against the accused to take legal action. more..

Parish assists Down syndrome kids

Feb 17 (UCAN) A coastal parish in western Sri Lanka is trying to educate children with disabilities and help parents cope with raising such children. "I was deeply moved when I first saw some of those children loitering on the beach," Father Upali Churchill Perera said. The priest has been pastor of St. Sebastian's Church in Kandathoduwawa, a fishing village, since 2003. He said he was amazed at the large number of mentally and physically handicapped children in his parish. more..

My people not exhibits - President

Feb 17 (MoD) My people are not sympathy evoking folk. Our people are courageous and the motherland is sacred. We never surrender to circumstances on sympathetic grounds, recapped President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a ceremony held at Homagama Base Hospital yesterday. The President declared open a 25,000 square feet, three-storied, new building complex with an outpatient department and a clinical division. more..

Catholics worry over anti-conversion bill

Feb 17 (UCAN) Catholics in Anuradhapura, a city sacred to Buddhists, are concerned that a religious-conversion bill will sour relations between Christians and Buddhists. Anuradhapura diocese's Laity Commission organized a consultation on the bill at its catechetical center in Anuradhapura on Feb. 12. Parish representatives met with local Bishop Norbert Andradi and priests. The Prohibition of Forcible Conversion Bill will be debated and voted on in parliament sometime in February. more..

River Development Project to benefit Northern farmers

Feb 17 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to accelerate the Valukkiyaru River Development Scheme which will be of great use for the farming communities in the Jaffna peninsula, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda. The scheme will be an important water resource development project which had been neglected over the past few years due to the war, Ministry said. He pointed out that he had instructed the relevant officials to immediately identify the problems confronting more..

Elephant population estimated at 5000

Feb 17 (GDI) Sri Lanka now has 5,000 elephants, an increase of 4,200 over the 1950 census and more than 1,000 elephants exist outside the protective area, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka said. Though there is an increase in the elephant population, annually, about 150-200 elephants die of sickness or due to the human-elephant conflict. When there is no rain in the Wilpattu and Tabbowa sancturies elephants move to Kalawewa passing through human habitats and return when there is rain, more..

Fourth Economic Center in Ratmalana

Feb 17 (GDI) The Government has begun work on the new Dedicated Economic Center (DEC) in Ratmalana after the successful completion of three DECs in Welisara, Veyangoda and Narahenpita last year, to provide facilities to buy food items at a cheaper rate, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Co-operative Bandula Gunawardhana said. He stated that the DEC in Ratmalana will open before the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festival in April. more..

Food to reach civilians by the sea

Feb 17 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa convened an urgent meeting concerning the food supplies to the civilians trapped in the North. On the President’s immediate directive, more than 40 tons of urgently required food items will be shipped tonight to the civilians trapped in Mullaitivu, said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Resettlement & Disaster Relief Services. He further said that any future needs shall also be conveyed as soon as possible. more..

LTTE 'forcibly recruited' UN staff

Feb 17 (BBC) The United Nations in Sri Lanka has accused the Tamil Tigers of forcibly recruiting one of its staff members. It is among many incidents of LTTE forcibly recruiting civilians and children as young as 14, the UN said in a statement. "The LTTE continues to actively prevent people leaving, and reports indicate that a growing number of people trying to leave have been shot and sometimes killed," the statement added. more..

UN urges LTTE to let civilians flee

Feb 17 (SAMN) The United Nations warned on Monday that civilians trapped in Sri Lanka's northern war zone were in 'dire need of humanitarian assistance' and called on the government and rebels to stop fighting in heavily populated areas. Government forces have nearly routed the Tamil Tigers after a quarter century of civil war, trapping them in a shrinking coastal area in the northeast along with an estimated 200,000 civilians. more..

Situation report (Feb 17) by SLA

Feb 17 (SLA) FINAL thrusting movements of valiant troops at the shrinking enemy forged ahead for another day on Monday (16) while collecting a wide assortment of LTTE bombs, explosives, arms and ammunition. 53 Division troops in PERIYAKULAM area after fighting went on collecting one 12 kg heavy claymore mine, 3250 T-56 ammunition rounds, 1000 GPMG ammunition rounds, four 60 mm mortar bombs, three RPG b bombs, one abandoned bicycle and a few other LTTE items. more..

Thousands protest against LTTE, demand release of civilians

Feb 17 (LNP) The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), a breakaway group of the LTTE, yesterday held a huge protest campaign against the Tigers in Vavuniya. Thousands of civilians participated in the protest demanding that the LTTE immediately release all civilians held by them as a human shield and allow them free access to government controlled areas. At first, a protest rally was held near the Children s Park at Vairavapuliyankulam followed by a demonstration with thousands parading the streets of Vavuniya. more..

Minority parties to meet Speaker

Feb 17 (SAMN) A crucial meeting of minority parties represented in parliament has been convened by Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara for this morning to pick their nominee to the Constitutional Council (CC), a parliamentary official said Monday. TNA leader R. Sampanthan confirmed that a meeting would be held with Speaker Lokubandara this morning. “The parties due to take part in the discussion will be those other than the two main parties, the UPFA and the UNP. more..

TNA fears for life of screened civilians

Feb 17 (SAMN) Around 190 males were murdered and 130 females were taken for sexual abuse among the thousands of civilians so far fled and were screened by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), accused Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP S. Gajendran Saturday, citing information he received from the inmates of internment camps and from his contacts in Vavuniyaa. The sources informed him that murdered were secretly buried in Anuradhapura. more..

Karuna quits TMVP

Feb 17 (SAMN) With the TMVP deadline for parliamentarian Vinyagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman to show cause as to why he described the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillayan, as incompetent and the members as barbarians, expiring today, Muralitharan Monday asserted he had no intention of explaining or being a member of the party any longer and more..

Sound pollution draft laws before SC

Feb 17 (DN) The draft sound pollution regulations should be in accordance with the Supreme Court Interim Order noted Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva PC when the rights application with regard to the noise pollution was taken before the Court yesterday. Deputy Solicitor General Bimba Thilakarathne Jayasinghe tendered the draft regulations to the Court. She submitted that the regulations not permitting to emit amplified sounds using loudspeakers had also been incorporated in the draft regulations and that the draft regulations would be presented to the Parliament soon. more..

Jaffna economy: Poised for revival

Feb 17 (DN) Historically, Jaffna has been a vibrant economic hub in the North of the country, with an educated population and an entrepreneurial workforce. Conflict has affected it badly, and the Jaffna people have faced untold hardships over the years, but a revival of its past glory no longer seems an unrealistic or distant hope. The Jaffna economy has changed significantly due to the conflict. People have left in droves, and there is now also a sizeable group living in welfare centres. more..

CEB workers to get pay hike

Feb 17 (Island) The Senior management of the Ceylon Electricity Board yesterday (16) said that they were taking steps to grant a 33 per cent salary hike to all CEB employees. CEB Chairman E. K. S. A. Edirisinghe told The Island yesterday that he was doing his level best to come up with a positive response before Friday. He also said now that the Provincial Councils Elections were over they would be in a better position to negotiate on the salary increase. more..

Can Sri Lanka’s tax system be simplified?

Feb 17 (Island) At the outset I must say that this perennial question will be looked at from a practical and non academic perspective, and that what I take you through may not provide the expert or the professional, the intellectual stimulation that such an exercise might otherwise present. I am making these comments with an open mind and without any ideological preference. Is our tax system complicated? If so why? Can anything or should anything be done about it? more..