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JVP nominations for WPC on 26th

Feb 24 (LT) The nominations of the JVP for Western Provincial council elections will be handed over on the 26th said Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. Mr. Herath further said former leader of the JVP group of members in WPC and Member of the Central Committee Waruna Rajapakse has been named as the chief ministerial candidate of the JVP. Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Duminda Nagamuwa has been named the leader of the Colombo District group while more..

UNP nominations for WPC finalized today

Feb 24 (LT) The list of candidates for the Western Provincial Council election from the UNP will be finalized today (24th) evening. The nomination committee of the UNP headed by Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe met at the office of the Leader of the Opposition at Cambridge Terrace yesterday (23rd) and finalized the handing over of nominations to the former UNP members of WPC and organizers of electorates. more..

UPFA nominations to be handed over on 25th & 26th

Feb 24 (LT) The nominations lists of the UNP candidates for the Western Provincial Council election will be finalized today (24th) says Secretary General of UPFA Minister Susil Premajayanthe. Accordingly, the nomination papers of the UPFA will be handed over to returning officers of the relevant districts on the 25th and 26th said Mr. Premajayanthe. The group leaders nominated for the three districts will be announced today. more..

'Bill will be passed despite trade union opposition'

Feb 24 (LT) Whatever the trade unions say or do Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill will be passed in the Parliament on 3rd March says Minister of Power and Energy W.D.J. Seneviratne. The minister says the intention of adopting the Bill is to salvage the Ceylon Electricity Board which is in crisis. Once the Bill is passed the generation of electricity would be handed over to companies and various institutions and more..

Massive agitation by CEB employees against Electricity Bill

Feb 24 (LT) The employees of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will launch a continuous agitation tomorrow demanding that the government withdraws the attempt to adopt Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill. Mr. Ranjan Jayalal, Committee Member of the action committee of the CEB Joint Trade Union Federation which has a very large membership in the CEB, said the agitation will continue until the 3rd March when Sri Lanka Electricity Draft Bill is due to be adopted in the Parliament. more..

Herb villages islandwide

Feb 24 (GDI) The Indigenous Medicine Ministry has decided to expand its herb villages program to make the country self-sufficient in medicinal herbs, Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karalliyadda said. He pointed out that in herb villages in 18 districts nearly 300 perennial and seasonal herbal plants are being cultivated. The farmers are provided infrastructure facilities such as agricultural equipment, seeds and planting materials and free extension services by the Ministry, he said. more..

20 bus depots to be upgraded

Feb 24 (GDI) The Government will upgrade twenty bus depots across the country this year under its model depot concept to provide the best and effective transport service to commuters, the Transport Ministry sources said. A model depot will be responsible for covering their expenditure for fuel, repairs and maintenances through the income earned from the bus fares. The Government will pay the employees salaries, thus making it easier for depots to earn profit. more..

Galgamuwa drinking water scheme to benefit 650 families

Feb 24 (GDI) A drinking water supply scheme is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 16 million in the Galgamuwa area under the community water supply scheme, Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said. The Minister stated that once the project is completed nearly 650 families in Mahagalkadawala and Tekkawatta in the Galgamuwa electorate will benefit. He said that 29 sub projects have been implemented in parallel with the water supply scheme and three projects are already nearing completion. more..

Yapa’s response to Sambandan’s allegations

Feb 24 (GDI) Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa in a reply to TNA Parliamentarian N. Sambandan’s accusations in a TV programme said: "I listened to my fellow-parliamentarian, Mr. R. Sambandan speaking on Sirasa TV on February 17. I was surprised by the allegations he was making and by the ignorance he feigned regarding the true situation of civilians in the Wanni, whom he claims to represent. more..

Sri Lankan makes submission to Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Feb 24 (AT) In a submission to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Anjalika Silva of the State of Maryland says her main concern is that the LTTE is propagating false information about the country in order to benefit from Western nations with the best refugee and welfare programs. The only method available to them to continue living in Western nations is by claiming that their lives are in danger if they return. more..

Tigers proudly compare them with Jews

Feb 24 (PSM) The LTTE's suicide pilot in his final letter, quoted by Tamilnet, has compared their struggle for Tamil Eelam with Jews struggle for their homeland. In two letters purportedly written in Tamil by one of the Sky Tiger pilots Rooben, has urged the Tamils of Tamil Nadu and the Vanni to join the outfit's military battle against the government. "The Tigers' comparison with the Jews is another proof of the LTTE's anti Muslims stand which ethnically cleansed the innocent Muslims from the North in 1990", said an anlyst. more..

'Muslims could play vital role in conflict resolution'

Feb 24 (PSM) “Muslims could play a significant role in peace building in a post-conflict scenario after the elimination of terrorism since they co-exist well with Sinhalese as well as Tamils and due to their fluency in both the Sinhala and Tamil languages. The de-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces has placed the Muslim community in a better position. The PSM should provide the correct Muslim viewpoint through independent media since more..

'Koayil' controversy

Feb 24 (TN) The officiating Tamil priesthood of tradition has to be helped to transcend contemporary sociopolitical norms of caste identity or hierarchy. It needs to see the real roots of its culture vested with the Tamil people and should stand on the side of the masses, upholding the cause of the oppressed. In fact, it has to take a step ahead of the government in progressiveness, writes opinion columnist Ampalam on the recent events concerning Chithamparam temple, triggered off by the controversy of reciting Tamil hymns in the Golden Hall of the temple. more..

Vadamaraadchi residents picket Point Pedro Divisional Secretariat

Feb 24 (TN) More than a thousand residents of coastal areas of Vadamaraadchi north gathered Tuesday in front of the Point Pedro Divisional Secretariat (DS) to protest against the inadequate relief rations of food provided by the Governement, and against the fishing ban that is depriving them from earning a livelihood, sources in Point Pedro said. The demonstrators blocked the entrance to the DS from 6:00 a.m but were forced out by Sri Lanka Army soldiers and police deployed in large numbers, more..

Resonating the interests of chauvinism?

Feb 24 (GV) I would like to preface my response to Professor Michael Robert’s two articles (Dilemma’s at Wars End: Responding to Hard Realities and Dilemma’s at Wars End: Clarifications and Counter-offensive). By writing this, I have no wish to devalue my friendship with Professor Roberts. For at the end of the day both of us stand for an inclusive Sri Lanka that recognizes the pluralist nature of its society comprising Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. more..

The murderous chicanery of the LTTE Political Wing

Feb 24 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat is extremely disappointed at the letter sent yesterday by Mr Nadesan, the Head of the Political Wing of the LTTE, to a number of international leaders, expressing its ‘readiness to co-operate with them on a ceasefire and peace talks leading to a permanent solution to the ethnic conflict.’ This seems to be the only response it can make to what was described at the press conference given by more..

The LTTE – A Spent Force?

Feb 24 (GV) According to Professor Roberts, dissident SL Tamils are of the view that the LTTE has passed its use-by date and a new leadership is needed to fight for their rights. He thinks these dissident Tamils have a far better understanding of the immediate priorities of the Tamil people. Is he referring to the ones now in positions of power because they claim they have accepted the democratic process? If so, has their record to date in upholding these democratic norms stood up to scrutiny? more..

The secret compulsions of human rights experts

Feb 24 (PISL) Some months ago, during a meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Amnesty representative there, Peter Splinter, said he was surprised that I did not rubbish Amnesty claims with regard to Sri Lanka as I did those of, for instance, Human Rights Watch. The explanation, I told him, was very simple. Sri Lanka is always willing to engage actively with those who are keen to improve the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka, without using any deficiencies to attack the government indiscriminately. more..

Situation report (Feb 24) by SLA

Feb 24 (SLA) UN Local Staff Members among Escaping: THIRTY- SEVEN civilians who had detained by the LTTE terrorists in un-cleared areas managed to flee and reached the naval troops in PULMODDAI this morning (24). Among those escapees who came in three boats, there were twelve of UN local staff. The previous day (23), fifty-nine civilians from un-cleared areas reached Security Forces held areas seeking protection. more..

Petrol from plastic soon

Feb 24 (SAMN) The Central Environment Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an inventor to convert the world’s most daunting environmental problem of plastic waste into petrol in a Rs 100 million project. The project will be introduced under the Authority’s National Waste Management Programme. Ananda Vithanage, a resident from Yatiyantota is the inventor of the technology for converting plastic waste into fuel. more..

Fate of Lanka captive unknown

Feb 24 (SAMN) The fate of the Sri Lankan being held captive by gunmen in the Philippines remains unknown even as negotiations to secure his release continue. A Crisis Management Team of the Nonviolent Peace Force continues to work around the clock to secure the release of the hostage, Umar Jaleel. In a statement on its website the peace force said that at this stage they do not have specific updates to share but remain hopeful that Jaleel will be released soon. more..

Govt. set to address UNHRC next week

Feb 24 (SAMN) The government is to address the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) next week and provide details of efforts taken to ensure the rights of displaced people in Sri Lanka, government sources said. A delegation led by Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe will attend the high level meeting and address a segment of the UNHRC session in Geneva. The delegation is also scheduled to meet the High Commissioner for Human Rights and ICRC Chief, among others, on the sidelines of the session. more..

Lanka wants pressure on LTTE

Feb 24 (SAMN) Sri Lanka Monday called on the International Community to pressure the LTTE to permit civilians to crossover to government controlled areas so that the security forces could end humanitarian operations soon. Against the backdrop of rising turmoil in Tamil Nadu over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said Sri Lanka’s relationship with India was cordial and friendly as ever and more..

Green cities concept kicks off from Badulla

Feb 24 (DN) The green cities concept will be implemented from Badulla soon, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The Minister said Sri Lanka should adopt the 'green cities' concept soon to prevent the majority of urban population falling sick in the next 10 years. All Sri Lankan cities, especially Colombo, is full of buildings without proper ventilation or sun light. These buildings have a negative impact on health and more..

Havelock City project Stage two completed

Feb 24 (DN) The piling work on Stage two of Sri Lanka’s largest mix development apartment complex, Havelock City has been completed. The first phase consisting of two towers including the Park and Eli bank Towers with 226 apartments is now nearing completion. The current economic situation has had an impact on sales with the global scenario. “However, with the domestic economy set to improve in the coming months with the progress made in the North we are confident that Apartment sales would increase significantly,” more..

Easterners look forward to development

Feb 24 (Island) People of the Eastern Province expressed hope that the Government programme of infrastructural development in the province would pave the way for acceleration of economic growth and generate employment opportunities for the youth. They made these expressions clear to journalists on a conducted tour organized by the Ministry of Highways to report on the progress and highlight the recent development undertaken by the Government in the Eastern Province. more..

How failed leaders could serve the nation

Feb 24 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, like many other Sri Lankan politicians, looks intelligent so long as she exercises control over her restless tongue. But, this exactly is what she finds it impossible to do. Hell hath no fury like a president forcibly retired. Piqued and consumed with animosity towards her successor, who, Chandrika thinks, took the bread out of her mouth, she has been settling old scores with him at the expense of the national interest. more..

King croc comes a cropper in Hendala

Feb 24 (DM) A huge 16 1/2 foot crocodile weighing up to 1000 kilos was captured by residents of Kandegewaththa at Hekiththa, in Hendala around 3:00 am yesterday. Nihal Jayasekera and his brother were among those who caught the crocodile with the help of a noose while it was swimming in the Kallualla canal. Eyewitnesses said that after a sustained struggle the crocodile was bound by ropes and cables. more..

PC polls: SLMC to take legal action

Feb 24 (DM) The SLMC said yesterday it would resort to legal action for a recount of the preferential votes in the Puttalam district at the North Western Provincial Council election, Party Secretary Hasan Ali said. Mr. Ali said of the three candidates fielded on the UNP ticket only one of them was elected. “In Puttalam, we normally have a block vote. So, we are surprised how this could have happened. The party will consult lawyers soon to discuss legal action seeking a recount,” more..

Sri Lankan hotels make losses in December quarter

Feb 24 (LBO) Two hotels in Sri Lanka's interior owned by two listed conglomerates have reported losses in the December quarter, reflecting the sharp downturn in tourist arrivals to the island last year. Hunas Falls Hotels, part of the Jetwing group of the Hayleys conglomerate, said its net loss for the quarter more than doubled to 3.7 million rupees from a year ago while sales rose four percent to 16.5 million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka's disaster management boosted by videoconferencing

Feb 24 (LBO) The disaster management capabilities of Sri Lanka's regional government offices have been boosted with broadband services which will improve communications and decision-making, a United Nations agency said. The UNDP says teleconferencing facilities at district government offices has allowed key officers to co-ordinate with their counterparts elsewhere cheaply without physically traveling for meetings. more..

'LTTE may carry out attacks in India'

Feb 24 (ZN) After being battered by Sri Lanka, a desperate LTTE may target India, the island nation’s Army Chief has warned. In an interview given to an Indian daily, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka on Monday said that the Tamil Tiger rebels could attack southern India’s economic and civilian targets in aerial strikes. The Indian government has made it clear that it would not interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, more..

Helping hand

Feb 24 (FL) IT is customary for the President of India to address a joint sitting of Parliament in its first session every year. The address is a summary of government policies on domestic and international issues. The Year 2009 address of President Pratibha Patil, made on February 12, revealed a significant change in India’s stand vis-a-vis the ongoing war in Sri Lanka. However, it did not get the attention it deserved. more..

Electoral gains

Feb 24 (FL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reason to be pleased with himself. His government has scored impressive victories not only on the war front but also in the electoral sphere. In elections to two of the provinces in the island nation on February 14, the UPFA led by Rajapaksa came out victorious. The elections, coming at a juncture when the military has almost wiped out the LTTE as a conventional force, assumed special significance with the President seeking to convert them into a “referendum” on the war. more..

India to study Sri Lanka, Kenya models for tea growers

Feb 24 (UNI) Indian teams will soon visit Sri Lanka and Kenya to study their schemes for small tea growers, Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said today. Replying to supplementaries in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour, he said the government was committed to the welfare of the small tea growers who contribute to 25 per cent of the total tea production in the country. These small tea growers, he said, were mostly concentrated in Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal and more..

'Urgent need' for end to Sri Lanka crisis: UN chief

Feb 24 (AFP) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon restated his concern Monday about continued hostilities between rebel and government forces in Sri Lanka, and called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. "The UN deplores the increasing casualties among civilians trapped in the intense fighting between the government and the LTTE over the last several days," Ban told reporters. The global community "would strongly support a suspension of fighting for the purpose of more..

Sri Lankans who escaped war zone now fenced in

Feb 24 (AP) Devi Segaram kept on the run for two years, forced to move time and again to stay ahead of the civil war sweeping across northern Sri Lanka. Then there was nowhere left to shelter. So, two weeks ago, the teacher and her daughter joined hundreds of other ethnic Tamils to make a dash for safety just before dawn, sprinting across open fields and braving rebel gunfire to reach government lines. more..

War-displaced yearn to return home

Feb 24 (IANS) Having lost his father to long-range fire, 23-year-old Aruldasan and a group of 40 other war-displaced people recently succeeded in escaping from Mullaitivu after 20 gruelling days. He was working for an international aid agency when the LTTE forced him to undergo 10 days of "civil defence training", which was compulsory for everybody in the age group between 18 and 60 in the Tiger-held territory. "My five-member family and I were living in Selvapuram. We tried to escape thrice but succeeded only in the fourth bid," more..

Sri Lanka probes origin of Tiger aircraft

Feb 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military said on Tuesday it was trying to establish how the Tamil Tigers managed to buy light planes abroad, smuggle them onto the island and establish a rebel air force. The probe follows the latest LTTE air assault against the capital using two of their Czech-made aircraft. The military shot down one aircraft just before it reached the intended target at the main airbase, while the second plane crashed into a tax building in Colombo on Friday night and exploded in a ball of fire. more..

India asks Sri Lanka to evacuate civilians

Feb 24 (IANS) India Tuesday urged Sri Lanka to work out 'appropriate and credible procedures' to evacuate civilians from the war zone and said it was ready to provide medical help to the wounded. The external affairs ministry also said that it was willing to help transport the civilians, thousands of who remain trapped in a small chunk of territory still held by the LTTE. The Indian statement came a day after the cornered LTTE appealed for a ceasefire Monday, a plea Colombo promptly turned down. more..

'Forced conscription led to LTTE's downfall'

Feb 24 (PTI) The LTTE's forced conscription of people to fight against the Sri Lankan troops was the main reason behind its downfall, according to Tamil civilians housed in refugee camps, who also contended that the outfit had some "decent" elements as well. "I think conscription was the main reason for the LTTE's fall. This has increased tremendously in the last few months," said a senior teacher in the school set up at the gigantic "Manik Farm" for the IDPs here. more..

Draw looms after Younis triple-century

Feb 24 (CI) Younis Khan took full advantage of a dead pitch at the National Stadium, scoring his maiden triple-century - the third by a Pakistan batsman - to push his side to safety and the match towards a draw. After four bat-dominated days, the only interest now left in the contest is whether the new Pakistan captain can break Brian Lara's Test record of 400. It was in line with Younis' character that he brought up the landmark with a reverse-sweep. more..

Put an end to conflict, US to Lanka, LTTE

Feb 24 (PTI) Concerned over the "hostilities" towards civilians in the conflict-hit northern part of Sri Lanka, the United States has asked the island government and the LTTE to hold negotiations to end the fighting. "We want the government and the LTTE discuss ways to end the hostilities," said Robert Wood, acting spokesman of the State Department. He said one of their primary concerns is the humanitarian situation. more..

Sri Lankan troops enter last rebel town

Feb 24 (AP) Sri Lankan forces entered the last town under rebel control Tuesday, the military said, as the government brushed aside international calls for a cease-fire to allow tens of thousands of civilians to escape the war zone. In recent months, the military has driven the Tamil Tigers out of their major strongholds in the north and confined them to a small patch of coastal land along the northeast. more..

Sri Lanka ready to deliver

Feb 25 (ECB) Sri Lanka have put their batting problems behind them ahead of the World Cup, according to captain Shashikala Siriwardena. Ranked sixth in the women’s one-day international standings, Sri Lanka have struggled posting competitive totals since entering the world stage. Making their World Cup debut in 1997, Sri Lanka lost to England by nine wickets in the quarter-final but finished sixth in the 2000 and 2005 events in New Zealand and South Africa, respectively. more..

Sonia asks party to collect relief material for Tamils

Feb 25 (Hindu) Even as the government is under pressure from its Tamil Nadu-based allies to do more on the Sri Lankan Tamilian front, the Congress has asked its party units in the southern States to collect relief material for distribution among Tamil civilians of Sri Lanka. The decision to mobilise party workers to collect relief material was taken by party president Sonia Gandhi on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka cuts reserve ratio again

Feb 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has cut the statutory reserve ratio (SRR) or percentage of deposits commercial banks must keep with the central bank, by 75 basis points to 7.0 percent releasing 9 billion rupees of cash to the system. Sri Lanka has cut the reserve ratio by a total of 225 basis points in October and again in November releasing tens of billions rupees to banks, but the liquidity disappeared swiftly in the face of a soft-dollar peg defence exercise. more..

Sri Lanka tableware exporter loses of top customer

Feb 25 (LBO) Sri Lankan tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain said it had lost a big American customer to which it had been supplying products for 10 years. Dankotuwa Porcelain said in a stock exchange filing that Crate and Barrel, a chain of American retail stores, had stopped placing orders with the company with effect from March 2009. The American chain sells houseware, furniture and home accessories. more..

Sri Lanka should take efforts for political settlement: Karat

Feb 25 (PTI) The CPI(M) on Tuesday asked the Sri Lankan government to immediately take steps for a political settlement of the LTTE crisis and provide autonomy to the North Eastern province under the constitutional framework of that nation. "Sri Lanka should implement the 13th amendment (devolution of powers as agreed upon) and ensure an autonomous province in the North East," CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat told reporters more..

Rupee unchanged at all-time low, shares down

Feb 25 (Reuters) Rupee closed flat at its all-time low on Tuesday on dollar demand by state banks to cover import bills, while shares edged down on select bluechips due to earning woes. The rupee closed unchanged at 114.55/114.65, with state banks buying dollars to cover oil import bills. One state bank, through which the central bank intervenes in the market, still sold dollars at 113.85 to keep the rupee steady, despite dollars being sold in the market at around 114.45. more..