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'Lanka will not accept intl pressure for a ceasefire'

Feb 25 (PTI) Admitting that there was international pressure on it to go for a ceasefire with the LTTE, Sri Lankan government today said it would not bow to calls for a truce as the rebels were on the brink of total defeat. "We are not ready for a ceasefire and the war against terrorism is at the last stage," Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake said at a function here. more..

'Tiger chief unlikely to surrender'

Feb 25 (AFP) The elusive leader of Tamil Tiger rebels is not expected to surrender despite losing his de facto state and may instead try to flee by boat, the country’s top defence official said Tuesday. Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, 54, could use a human smuggling ring to escape by boat, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told AFP in an interview at his tightly guarded sea-front office. more..

HRW report exposes govt’s war crimes

Feb 25 (wsws) A report released last Friday by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has provided a glimpse into the criminal character of the Sri Lankan government's war against the separatist LTTE. Entitled "End ‘War' on Civilians," it calls on the government to "immediately cease its indiscriminate artillery attacks on civilians in the northern Wanni region and its policy of detaining displaced persons in internment camps". more..

Tamil National Movement must re-brand itself to advance its cause

Feb 25 (TC) The fasts, rallies, marches and human chains organised by the Tamil Diaspora has been aimed at informing the International Community (IC) of the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government and urging the international community to stop the genocide of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The author believes the International community is well informed of the ground realities (example recent HRW report and ICRC sources) and more..

India, Pak FMs not attending SAARC meeting in Colombo

Feb 25 (ML) The Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan will not attend the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting to be held in Sri Lanka this Friday and Saturday. The High Commissions of both countries in Sri Lanka confirmed that the ministers would not be attending the meeting. The Indian High Commission said that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will not attend the meeting and that Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahamed will represent the country. more..

‘One fourth’ of investigation completed say police

Feb 25 (ML) ‘One fourth’ of the investigation process into the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge has been completed, Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said. Gunasekera told The Morning Leader yesterday that although the police have still not received the Government Analyst’s (GA) report, the four police investigating teams appointed to investigate into Wickrematunge’s murder were able to obtain more details in to more..

UNP set for major overhaul

Feb 25 (ML) If the Friday night skies were momentarily lit by a descending fireball that struck the Inland Revenue Department’s 12 and 13 floors demonstrating a desperate attempt by the LTTE to devastate the Sri Lankan economic capital, the political turmoil within the UNP and the simmering discontent appears equally potent. Indeed, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is seeing red. As the inner party discontent spills over yet again, the writing is finally on the wall that more..

Sampanthan quizzed

Feb 25 (DN) The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday recorded a statement from TNA Parliamentarian R. Sampanthan over various statements and speeches made by him against the Government through the local and international media. Police Spokesman SSP Rajith Gunasekera said Sampanthan has been interrogated for over three hours regarding his speeches and statements against the Government. more..

Bring back the Clowns - Human Rights Watch returns to the Ring

Feb 25 (PISL) Human Rights Watch has once again dropped a beautifully timed cluster bomb on Sri Lanka. Often these explosives coincide with the sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, and this year is no exception, though we can also detect a tendency to try to prevent the Sri Lankan forces from dealing conclusively with a terrorist threat. This practice commenced in 2007 when, following the quick and effective operation to liberate the East from the Tigers, more..

In defence of Ranil

Feb 25 (LG) Perhaps the only Opposition Leader who has got such bad press in recent times is Ranil Wickremesinghe. There is hardly any English daily or weekly that speaks favourably of his policies or his credentials, so much so, it makes one wonder whether there is a conspiracy against either him or the UNP or maybe both. A paper which belongs to his uncle takes sadistic pleasure in mocking him at the drop of a hat in its political commentary but never fails to prop up a racist party. more..

Reply to M.Sooriasegarm about 50:50 Demand by Tamil Congress

Feb 25 (LG) M. Sooriasegarm in his article of “So what went wrong with Tamil Struggle” Feb 24th in Sri Lanka Guardian claimed that 25 percent of Tamils asked for 50 percent share of the representative body for the governance. This 25 percent of Tamil is a myth. During the time of agitation for Sinhala 50: Tamil 50 representation by the Jaffna Tamil elite’s, population of Ceylon Tamil (those who are originally from North and East) was only 13 percent not 25 percent. more..

Sri Lanka welcomes European Union’s call to the LTTE to lay down arms

Feb 25 (AT) Government welcomes the European Union’s (EU) call to the LTTE to lay down its arms and renounce terrorism and violence once and for all, as contained in the EU’s Council Conclusions on Sri Lanka of 23 February 2009. In this context, if the LTTE heeds this call, the requirement of an immediate ceasefire as urged by the EU will not arise. The press statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that it may be noted that the Government of Sri Lanka did suspend hostilities for a 48 hour period and more..

Education Reforms – application without discrimination are vital

Feb 25 (AT) This article place the onus of accepting or discarding these ‘true facts’, essential to reform the education system, squarely on the shoulders of the general public and students hoping to get a University placing. But, the GOSL failed to place before the people how they are planning to bring in-line the private education institutes mushrooming around the country under the BOI legislation and Companies Act, operating as ‘International Schools’. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism hosted ‘Chef’s Diplomats’ Table’

Feb 25 (AT) Colombo based heads of foreign missions were recently invited by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) to an exclusive event titled the ‘Chef’s Diplomats’ Table’. Held at the Queen’s Court, Hotel Trans Asia, the event brought together the US, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Brazilian, and Italian Ambassadors, along with the Deputy Head of Mission of Germany, and representatives of the Delegation of the European Union, Swedish Embassy, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. more..

Rs. 100 m for Galle town development

Feb 25 (LP) The capital of the southern province is a city with a colourful history. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings not invaded by the skyscrapers. President directed the authorities to implement the Galle Town Development Project in preserving its historical heritage and pristine glory, more..

SAM missile found in Thoppigala

Feb 25 (GDI) A Surface-to-air-missile (SAM), an anti –aircraft missile was recovered by the Trincomalee Police during a search operation in the Thoppigala area on Monday, police said. They said the missile was a SAM-14 type and had been hidden in a hollow of a tree. Police believe the LTTE cadres fleeing the area during the Thoppigala battle might have discarded the missile. The recovery was made after interrogating an LTTE suspect arrested a few days ago by the Trincomalee police. more..

A9 reopens next month

Feb 25 (GDI) The A9 road that connects Kandy and Jaffna via Omanthai was inside LTTE controlled terrain and later closed following LTTE confrontations. Since the armed forces consolidated power in the area later, A9 is expected to reopen for the public next month. The road is to reopen as early as the first week of March, sources from the armed forces reveal. But defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says that an exact date cannot be given. more..

Bumper paddy harvest from East

Feb 25 (GDI) A bumper paddy harvest of 738,862 metric tonnes has been reaped during the current Maha season in the Eastern Province since its liberation from the LTTE, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Bandula Gunawardhana said. He pointed out that the prices of rice are expected to come down in the market within the next few months due to this bumper harvest. more..

'Legislation no solution for unethical conversions'

Feb 25 (PSM) Unethical conversion cannot be tackled through legislation, opined experts commenting on the Anti Conversion Bill that was presented to the Parliament by the JHU. Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala at a recent lecture in PSM gave similar view which is also supported by Fr. Cyril Gamini in an interview to a weekend media. Rohan Edrisinha, legal expert commented that “Religion and people’s intentions cannot be governed by legislation. more..

SLA enters Puthukudirippu built-up area

Feb 25 (DW) Earth bunds constructed by the Tigers to guard Puthukudirippu have fallen thanks to the newly formed TF-8, 58 Division and the 53 Division. The first bund erected across Perawil in Puthukudirippu West was completely overrun by yesterday, the second bund erected to the south of Puthukudirippu was also breached. TF-8, backed by the 53 Division, are now inside the trench and pitched battles have erupted there. more..

14 Rest Houses transferred to local govt Institutions

Feb 25 (LP) According to a special gazette issued and approved by the Ministers, 14 Rest Houses which were taken under the Urban Development Authority (UDA) will be transferred to the Local Government Institutions once again. Accordingly Rest Houses in Balangoda, Kuliyapitiya, Nigambo, Weligama, Hatton- Dikoya, Kurunegala, Haputale, Kadugannawa, Kegalle, Puttlam, Vavuniya, Thalawakale- Lindula were handed over to the Local Government Instituion more..

The child of a problem and the ticking time bomb

Feb 25 (BL) A reporter asked Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in New Delhi on Friday, whether a dead Prabhakaran could be a major concern for Sri Lanka. His reply was: He (Prabhakaran) is the child of a problem and, as long as the problem stays, there will be someone else to take up the issue. In his latest article ‘The Tigers- A ticking time bomb’, Dayan Jayatilleke observes: Velupillai Prabhakaran is about to be defeated, but he has left a time bomb hidden in plain sight, which must be defused, more..

Playing safe?

Feb 25 (BL) UPFA is to submit their nominations for the upcoming Western Provincial Council election today. The General Secretary of the UPFA Minister Susil Premajayantha said they have already finalized the party’s nomination list but noted that the party has not named a Chief Minister candidate for the WPC yet. According to the Minister few war heroes of the Sri Lanka Army have been selected to the UPFA nomination lists in Colombo, Gampaha, and Kalutara districts. more..

Kotelawala gets fresh summons

Feb 25 (BL) On a complaint regarding a dis-honoured cheque of Rs.7 million, Colombo Additional Magistrate G. Ranawaka yesterday issued summons on Finance and Guarantee Property Developer’s Chairman Lalith Kotalawala and six directors to appear before D. Mervin Jayasinghe Mala Sabaratnam, K. A. S. Jayasinghe, Susanthika Jayasekera, Yasmin Mohamed and Mohan Perera were the other directors named. more..

Over 600 rural schools don’t have children-friendly toilets

Feb 25 (BL) An astonishing fact is that 600 out of the 10,000 schools in Sri Lanka do not have toilet facilities at all for the students. In an attempt to start creating an environment where all children have a sanitary and hygienic learning environment a Child Friendly Water and Sanitation Project was launched in 24 schools in Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts, implemented by the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, Malteser International and UNOPS. more..

Situation report (Feb 25) by SLA

Feb 25 (SLA) TROOPS of the 57 and 59 Divisions and Task Force-111 operating in the general areas of AMPAKAMAM, NEDUNKERNY and IRANAMADU respectively found four hand grenades and two claymore mines. Similarly, Task Force-V troops during a search in the general area of MALLAVI found one claymore mine of 12.5 kg, three hundred and twenty (320) rounds of T-56 ammunition, seven anti personnel mines, one cyanide capsule, one LTTE dog tag, some LTTE uniform items and thirteen LTTE literature books Tuesday (24). more..

US Senate panel discusses Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (LNP) A U.S. Senate committee Tuesday focused its attention on the situation in Sri Lanka, where the military is engaged in an intense battle with Tamil Tigers as the two sides struggle for control of what is believed to be the last of the rebel strongholds. Witnesses at the Senate hearing decried the actions of both sides in one of Asia`s longest running wars. Anna Neistat, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, told a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing that human rights violations are being committed by more..

Hunger and fear reign in Karametiya

Feb 25 (SAMN) The inhabitants of Karametiya village in Inginiyagala who escaped the LTTE massacre on Saturday have been facing a severe food shortage over the past three days and live in fear of another LTTE attack, after returning to their homes on Monday. Karametiya and the neighbouring village of Nelliyadda had been going through a severe drought for the past two months with crops failing, when the LTTE attacked the village killing 16 people and injuring 10. more..

TMVP completes disarming

Feb 25 (SAMN) Against speculative crossfire on the longstanding issue of disarming by a government ally, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) said Tueday its cadres had fully disarmed and the party would now focus on their rehabilitation. TMVP spokesman Azath Maulana said none of its members whether seniors or juniors would follow their former comrade Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman and join the SLFP but would continue to support the UPFA government. more..

15 pc Colombo school children obese

Feb 25 (SAMN) An alarming 15 per cent of children in Colombo schools suffer from obesity, a situation almost similar to that of Western countries, Dr. Harns Pathirage, a Consultant Physician attached to the Panadura Base Hospital said. He said the main cause for this, which should be attributed to parents’ negligence, is the children’s addiction to fast food and soft drinks. Obesity in children leads to many short and long term effects. more..

Ranil under pressure to step down from leadership

Feb 25 (ML) A group of UNP legislators are currently gathering signatures to urge the UNP leadership to summon a special parliamentary meeting to discus the UNP’s future and request the party leader to immediately step down from the position. The group is now agitating that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should appoint a leader for an interim period and immediately step down allowing a new leadership to emerge. more..

CMC warns LRD of legal action

Feb 25 (SAMN) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council has warned the Land Reclamation Department of legal action if the city canals are not cleaned within one week. Negligence has caused the spread of dengue during the months of January and February resulting in the deaths of three children in the Mutwal and Mattakkuliya areas. Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, said if the LRD failed to clean all the canals in Colombo City limits, legal action would be initiated. more..

SAITM to invest Rs 500 m on first private Green Campus

Feb 25 (DN) The South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM) will invest Rs. 500 million on Sri Lanka’s first private sector Green Campus. “It is envisaged to start academic programs by next month. The 90,000 sq ft campus building with seven floors and infrastructure facilities will provide students an international education with a national flair,” said the Chairman of SAITM, Dr. Neville Fernando. more..

Future constructions must be environment friendly

Feb 25 (Island) According to the ‘Green City Concept’, presented by the World Health Organization The Ministry of Health would insist on paying, maximum attention to environment in all future building constructions. The WHO has held that none of the cities in the world paid attention to the environment when constructing buildings making them disease prone. A spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that Sri Lanka is no exception and more..

Rs. 33 million housing scheme for Batticaloa

Feb 25 (Island) Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) of Germany will construct 60 houses with toilets in Koralai Pattu South D.S. Division in Batticaloa with the assistance of National Housing Development Authority (NHDA). The total cost of this project is Rs. 33 million. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Housing and Common Amenities the NHDA will implement this project and signing of the agreement of this project were held at the NHDA head office yesterday (16 February). more..

DMK defends Centre's approach on Sri Lankan issue

Feb 25 (PTI) The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu virtually defended the Centre's approach on the Sri Lankan issue, saying a 'motive' could be seen in any efforts by India to intervene for a ceasefire in the island nation. "A motive can be attributed behind any such efforts by India, since we are Sri Lanka's immediate neighbour. India should rather urge countries like US and Norway and others to press Sri Lanka for a ceasefire," more..

Samudradevi replaced amidst mixed reactions

Feb 25 (DM) Thousands of commuters taking the morning Samudradevi express train on the coast line to reach their work places in the city were up in arms over the train been suddenly replaced by a power set. Asked to account for the move, Sri Lanka Railways’ Operations Manager Vijaya Samarasinghe said: “We received numerous complaints that some commuter – couples have made it a practice to use the train as a rendezvous for love making and have expressed disgust over certain lewd scenes they have been compelled to witness. more..

angry Goldern Key investors protest

Feb 25 (DM) The Golden Key investors held a demonstration yesterday outside the offices of the Ceylinco Group, demanding that their initial investments and interest payment be paid. This is the fifth such gathering in addition to the court cases and company initiated gatherings at the BMICH. The protest was initiated by the ‘Society for those rendered helpless by the Golden Key Credit Card Company’ headed by President Anusha Mather and treasurer Dushyanthi Hapugoda. more..

Sri Lanka's tax office back in business

Feb 25 (LBO) Sri Lankan tax payers are being asked by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to continue to pay their dues, as the island's tax office is operating as usual after last week's Tamil Tiger air attack on its headquarters building. A government minister said the IRD's tax data base had not been lost when a Tiger light aircraft crashed into the building last Friday after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire while on a suicide mission to the air force headquarters across the street. more..

Endgame in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (DT) One of the world’s longest running insurgencies might be coming to an end with the Sri Lankan government close to overrunning the last remaining holdouts of the Tamil Tiger rebels. The same conjunction of global forces that enabled the government to turn the corner, however, could make the victory costly if it does not show restraint towards the defeated opponent. In a pointed allusion to acknowledging this reality, Sri Lanka’s main donors have called for a truce and ask the government to look beyond victory on the battlefield. more..

'Ceasefire' easier said than done in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (NST) WHAT can one say about a conflict that is refusing to end, with both sides engaged in a fight to the finish? In the triumphal declarations from Colombo at its success in the near-total annihilation of the world's most potent guerilla force, the suffering voices of millions of innocent civilians are going virtually unheard. The civilians are also the victims in the desperate survival game of this force - LTTE - as they get used as human shields against the advancing troops. more..

The time for a truce is over

Feb 25 (HT) For an organisation that is known for its sharp strategic thinking, the LTTE call for a truce without laying down arms is a no-brainer. It comes at a time when the Sri Lankan army has all but squeezed the militant outfit into a small area north of the island. There may be merit in the LTTE’s plea that thousands of Tamil civilians are facing death as the two begin their endgame. But given the violent and undemocratic history of the group, it will not find many sympathisers. more..

'Political settlement with LTTE must dash Tamil Eelam dream'

Feb 25 (PTI) Disapproving any ceasefire with the LTTE, JVP on Wednesday said that any political solution to the conflict must "completely dash" rebel dream of a separate Tamil Eelam. "There should be no ceasefire agreement with the LTTE as only a small portion of area remains with the Tiger rebels which would also be captured," opposition JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said. more..

Match drawn after late drama

Feb 25 (CI) In the end the pitch won. Pakistan created late excitement by knocking out five top-order wickets but they didn't have enough time to pull off the miracle. After four-and-a-half dreary days dominated by the bat, the game sprung alive in dramatic fashion on the final evening when Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria struck in rapid succession to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 120 for 5. Thilan Samaraweera and Prasanna Jayawardene, however, pulled down the shutters with more..

Colombo ignores Court order to resettle Jaffna IDPs inside HSZ

Feb 25 (TN) The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from their lands occupied by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) enclosed within the High Security Zone (HSZ) in Valikaamam north are being asked to provide alternate choice of location to be resettled in other than their own lands, Welfare organizations of the IDPs said. Supreme Court instruction to begin resettlement inside the designated areas within the HSZ is being ignored by this new measure adopted by more..

'Centre 'mute spectator' to 'genocide' in Sri Lanka'

Feb 25 (PTI) A number of Tamil Nadu's Samathuva Makkal Katchi activists on Wednesday staged a demonstration here demanding India's intervention for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka where government forces and LTTE are locked in an intense battle. The activists led by party chief and actor R Sarath Kumar held a demonstration and shouted slogans against the Centre for being a "mute spectator" to the "genocide" in the island nation. more..

Lanka not serious towards political settlement: US Senator

Feb 25 (PTI) Even as Sri Lanka has virtually wiped out the LTTE in the north, an influential US lawmaker accused Colombo of not being serious in addressing the issues of the Tamilians and arriving at a political settlement. "So far, there are few indications that a political deal is imminent. Sri Lanka will not negotiate directly with the LTTE. But it does not appear as though the government has much interest in finding alternative Tamil interlocutors nor more..

'Sri Lanka war zone conditions worsen'

Feb 25 (AP) Conditions in Sri Lanka's overcrowded war zone have rapidly deteriorated as stranded families packed fields filled with human waste, water supplies dwindled and a makeshift hospital ran out of essential medicines, the top health official in the region said Wednesday. Aid groups estimate more than 200,000 people are trapped in a small strip of rebel-held territory along the northeast coast as the government wages an all-out offensive to destroy the Tamil Tiger rebels and more..

Rupee hits new life low on import dlr demand

Feb 26 (Reuters) Rupee hit a new all-time low on Wednesday on dollar demand by state banks to cover import bills, while shares fell 1.19 percent to a more than one-month closing low on economic and earning worries. The rupee closed at 114.85/114.90, down 0.24 percent from Tuesday's close of 114.55/65. One state bank, through which the central bank intervenes in the market, still sold dollars at 113.85 in a very stringent and limited manner to keep the rupee steady. more..

'Civilians slowing Sri Lanka advance'

Feb 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka's advance against Tamil Tiger rebels, now in its final stages, has been slowed considerably by the presence of civilians in the war zone, the nation's top defence official says. An estimated 70,000 civilians are inside the shrinking territory in the coastal area of Mullaittivu, into which the rebels have been penned after losing their mini-state, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse said. more..