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Sri Lanka to collect ship waste, levy fee

Feb 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka has called for fresh bids from private investors to set up a collection facility in Colombo port for waste oil from ships which will be charged a fee for the service. The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said the facility is required for the reception, processing and disposal of waste oil and other waste from ships calling at Sri Lankan ports and passing through her territorial waters. more..

Sri Lanka invites bids for new container terminal

Feb 6 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has issued a long-awaited call for bids for a container terminal in a new deep-draft port being built next to the existing Colombo harbour. Proposals have been called from international or local firms or consortia to design, build, finance, manage, operate and transfer the new container terminal to be developed in the new Colombo South Harbour being built west of the existing port. more..

Shall take legal action against thuggery of Peliyagoda Police – IUSF

Feb 6 (LT) The Peliyagoda police that had arrived at the Kelaniya University alleging they had come to settle a clash between two factions of students had behaved like thugs and legal action would be taken against the thuggery of the Peliyagoda Police said the convener of the Inter University Students’ Union Udul Premaratne. He said Peliyagoda Police broke into Kelaniya University under the pretext of settling a dispute among students and more..

Tamils share concerns over conflict

Western media hypocrisy at its zenith

Feb 6 (AT) Boxed into a corner by overwhelming firepower of a massive military onslaught from all sides and deserted by India (after the murder of Rajiv Gandhi and the slaughter of 2,000 Indian troops), in the face of inevitable annihilation, the LTTE think tanks have been forced to play the proverbial last trump card to save the day. This plot revealed itself in the form of Keith Weiss the so called UN humanitarian spokesperson of the OCHA more..

The human shields that protects the LTTE

Feb 6 (AT) The Government at most needs a few plaudits for its ability to ride the tidal waves of pressure building up by members of the international community, the media and organizations who profit from conflict stricken countries. With a receding area to call their "own" the LTTE may soon have to either hand themselves up or prepare for a waiting game. Either way, the LTTE needs to realize that their days are numbered. more..

The fourth spirit of golf tournament concluded successfully

Feb 6 (AT) The fourth corporate golfing event "Spirit of Golf 2009", was successfully concluded at the Jaypee Green grounds, New Delhi, India, on 24 January, hosted by BBC World News in partnership with Incredible India. The event was held at the main lawns of the Jaypee Greens – the country’s first Greg Norman signature championship course, located at Greater Noida, with 100 participants in total comprising of high profile corporate, policy makers, and socialites. more..

Foreign Minister endorses co-chairs statement

Feb 6 (AT) The Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama appreciates the statement made by the Tokyo Co-Chairs who have recognized that the "international efforts to persuade the LTTE to allow the civilians freedom of movement have failed". The Co-Chairs have also drawn attention to the fact that within a short period of time, the LTTE will lose control of the remaining areas in the North. more..

The Grand Hedging Robbery

Feb 6 (AT) The petroleum hedging contract fiasco is not given much prominence these days even after the Supreme Court strongly condemned it stating that the contract is irregular. The SC suspended the payments to Banks by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, when a case was filed by the UNP. There were two issues involved in that case (a) hedging contract and (b) reduction of petrol from Rs. 122 to Rs. 100. more..

Strategic Miscalculation by the LTTE

Feb 6 (AT) 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 Khalisntan 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..

Muralitharan plans World Cup exit

Feb 6 (CI) Like everyone else, Muttiah Muralitharan knew the day was inevitable when he would end up becoming the leading wicket-taker in ODIs. It eventually came in the fourth ODI against India at the Premadasa, when he removed the Man of the Match Gautam Gambhir for 150. Muralitharan felt holding the record in both Tests - he overtook Shane Warne's 708 wickets in December 2007 more..

Tamils: Yes We Can

Feb 6 (TC) The LTTE, who have been waging an armed liberation struggle to liberate the Tamil Homeland in the North East provinces of the Island of Sri Lanka has suffered unprecedented military debacles in the last few years and are on the back foot for the first time in their history spanning over 30 years. This is quite a contrast to the Politico-Military Balance of Power they enjoyed at the start of this millennium, which lead to the Norwegian brokered ceasefire and peace talks in 2002. more..

Who is Lasantha ?, queries Gotabhaya

Feb 6 (TC) BBC correspondent Christopher Morris who was on special assignment in Sri Lanka left the country following hostile allegations made against him in the media by Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. We provide below a link to a BBC clip showing Mr.Gotabhaya Rajapakse being interviewed by Christopher Morris. The highlight of the interview is Gotabhaya's query "Who is Lasantha " in hectoring tones. more..

Opinion: Sri Lankan issue

Feb 6 (Hindu) A solution to the Sri Lankan ethnic issue can emerge only if the LTTE surrenders. Agitations and protests in Tamil Nadu will not stem the Sri Lankan military offensive. The political parties in the State should realise this and refrain from whipping up the passions of the youth. They should make efforts to persuade the LTTE to lay down arms. The DMK's stand on the issue is truly heartening. - L. Marinstine Fernando, Hartford, Connecticut. more..

Ensure Tamils’ safety, India asks Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (Hindu) With the Sri Lankan forces poised to capture the remaining strongholds of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, New Delhi on Thursday asked Colombo to ensure the safety of civilian Tamils caught in the war zone in the north. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee also asked the LTTE to allow civilians in the areas held by it to cross over to the safe zones of the government. more..

Chalai about to fall as civilians start returning

Feb 6 (DW) Civilians have started arriving in their thousands by today. 522 civilians came yesterday and 2000 civilians had arrived by this evening. 25-30 LTTE cadres, who abandoned the movement, were also among them. This was the largest number of civilians to have returned to date and indicates the LTTE is really crumbling. The 30-man Tiger team, which breached the 59 defenceline few days ago was completely annihilated more..

EU Parliament calls for political solution in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (IANS) The capture of Tamil Tiger strongholds by the Sri Lankan army 'may constitute a turning point in the crisis' and could pave the way for peace and stability on the island nation, the EU Parliament said Thursday. The EP, however, said in a statement that a political solution needs to be found and the humanitarian crisis addressed in order for there to be lasting peace, EuAsiaNews reported. more..

LTTE man held at Shamshabad airport

Feb 6 (EB) An alleged LTTE sympathiser, a Sri Lankan Tamil, was taken into custody by immigration authorities at the Shamshabad airport here late on Thursday night. Twenty-four-year-old Tamileswaran was nabbed in the check-in area while he was all set to board a 6.45 p.m. British airways flight to London. After verifying his travel documents, they profiled him. "He is a native of Ponnumpur in Trichy and was speaking in Tamil. We verified his passport bearing the UK visa stamp. more..

Myopic Leadership

Feb 6 (OI) (a) Sri Lanka is less developed than India because even though the percentage of literacy in Sri Lanka is high, it does not as yet have educational institutions of excellence like the Institutes of Technology in India. India has better human and material resources than Sri Lanka. The Indian economy is highly diversified. The Sri Lankan economy is still a three-item economy--tea, rubber and tourism. more..

Ban phones President over plight of civilians in war zone

Feb 6 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa amid growing international concern over the plight of thousands of civilians trapped in the island's northern war zone. The President's office said in a statement that the UN chief, who was in New Delhi, had a telephone conversation with President Rajapaksa in the evening on the situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Akram hails Muralitharan for breaking his record

Feb 6 (IANS) Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has hailed Muttiah Muralitharan for breaking his record of highest wickets in one-day internationals, saying that the Sri Lanka off-spinner deserves the achievement. 'It's great to know that a bowler of Murali's calibre has surpassed me as the highest wicketer in one-dayers,' Akram said Thursday after Murali collected his record 503rd wicket in one-dayers in the fourth ODI against India in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka war near end, but ethnic tension remains

Feb 6 (AP) The Sri Lankan government is poised to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels and end a quarter-century civil war that has killed tens of thousands. But it still faces a major challenge beyond the battlefield: resolving the ethnic conflict that fueled the uprising. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has consistently expressed support for a deal to give the ethnic Tamil minority on this South Asian island nation more say in a government long dominated by the Sinhalese majority. more..

Sri Lankan envoy decries Liberal genocide allegations

Feb 6 (NP) A Sri Lankan diplomat responded angrily on Thursday to accusations by several Liberal MPs that his government is waging a genocide. Bandula Jayasekara, the Sri Lankan Consul General in Toronto, accused the MPs of "low politics" and misrepresenting events in the South Asian nation. He was responding to an emergency debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday night during which five Liberal MPs used the term "genocide" in relation to Sri Lanka. more..

Tamil Nadu politicians harden stand against Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (IANS) Parties across the political divide in Tamil Nadu have hardened their stands against killings of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in a statement said his government was a 'live human shield of the Tamil ethnic minority against the murderous Sri Lankan regime'. 'The DMK government acts as a live human shield of the ethnic Tamil minority in Sri Lanka by using its status as a state government to press for their justifiable demands,' Karunanidhi said. more..

SEP campaigns among plantation workers

Feb 6 (wsws) As part of its campaign for the Provincial Council elections on February 14, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) has been campaigning among plantation workers in the Nuwara Eliya district. The SEP is standing two lists of 19 candidates—one in Nuwara Eliya in Central Province and the other in Puttalam in the North-Western Province. Most of Sri Lanka's plantation workers—numbering around half a million—live in the Nuwara Eliya district, more..

Pranab’s visit and after

Feb 6 (LG) The visit of the External minister of India Pranab Mukherjee to Sri Lanka did take place after all on 27th January 2009. The regional parties in India were insisting that New Delhi take some visible concrete action for bringing about a cease fire. The parties who have traditionally supported the LTTE through the thick and thin for years insisted that India intervene to prevent the alleged genocide of the Tamil race in the Island. more..

Medics evacuate destroyed hospital

UN apologizes for the comment on 'cluster bombs'

Feb 6 (PRIU) The United Nations yesterday apologized to the Government for their comments about the use of cluster bombs on the Pudukkudyirippu Government Hospital. The statement issued by UN's Colombo based spokesman Gordon Weiss has said the UN did not point a finger at military, but its comments were prompted by an Amnesty International report denouncing the act which they directly attributed to Government Forces, the Daily News said today. more..

Germany celebrates 61st Independence Day of Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (LG) Sri Lankans domisiled in Germany celebrated the 61st Indipendence Day of Sri Lanka in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin and in the consulate in Frankfurt on Wednesday (4th Feb). Round 200 invitees were present at the Embassy in Berlin for the celebrations. The official programme started off with the hoisting of the National Flag in the Embassy grounds followed by singing of the National anthem in the main Hall. more..

Sri Lankan diaspora in Geneva celebrates Independence

Feb 6 (LG) The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland held a reception for the Sri Lanka expatriate community in honour of the 61st National Day on 4 February 2009. Speaking to the large number of attendees at the function, Dr. Dayan Jayatillake, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva observed that, more..

'Don’t let terrorists and their supporters bring shame on our country'

Feb 6 (LG) Ayubowan! Vanakkam, Asalam Alaikum, Good Evening, Venerable Monks, Respected Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, Friends . I usually speak from the heart. But, today I wrote my speech from the heart because I do not want my heart to fail. Firstly let me thank all of you for joining us today. Specially the members of the Sri Lankan community who helped us to organise this National Day with their contributions. more..

Sinhala mob stones ICRC office in Colombo

Feb 6 (TN) Unruly mobs surrounded and stoned the main office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the capital Colombo on Friday afternoon. The attack comes hours after a pro-government politician called for the expulsion of the ICRC chief Paul Castella following recent statements made by him on the ongoing conflict in the north between the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE. more..

PBH patients still not evacuated

Feb 6 (SAMN) The fate of patients and staff transferred to Puthumuttalam rural hospital from the Pudukudiyiruppu Base Hospital (PBH) on Wednesday remained uncertain Thursday as they were not evacuated to the Vavuniya hospital as expected. The ICRC on Wednesday evacuated 509 patients and 160 member staff at Pudukudiyiruppu Base Hospital in Mullaitivu to the Puthumuttalam rural hospital on the request of the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry. more..

SL has an Official Secrets Act: Ministry

Feb 6 (SAMN) The Defence Ministry Thursday said Sri Lanka has an “Official Secrets Act’” which requires all public servants to maintain strict reticence over sensitive information that may be used by adverse elements to damage national interests. The Ministry noted that in the recent past impotent leaders in political spheres and certain unscrupulous journalists have been making an absurd cry over not providing military casualty figures to them. more..

UNP to file action against alleged gifts

Feb 6 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Thursday alleged that the government is violating election laws by distributing food packets and gifts to influence the people. UNP Chief Ministerial candidate for the Central Province S. B. Dissanayake said that the government is violating the Provincial Council Election Act of 1988 by engaging in these practices. He explained that entertaining people directly or indirectly can be considered a violation of election law under this Act. more..

Solheim regrets the rejection of the peace initiative

Feb 6 (LG) Erik Solheim, the Norwegian government minister quite familiar to Sri Lanka was sorry that the initiative from the U.S., EU, Japan and Norway for the immediate stop of the war actions on Sri Lanka was not positively. Speaking from New Delhi on the phone where he attending a conference on the environment and climate crisis, he said: “I am very sorry the situation in Sri Lanka has become so extreme. more..

'Sinhala text to speech'

Feb 6 (SAMN) The official launching of the software “Nuwana Sinhala Text to Speech” developed by the Software Engineering Services Division (SESD) of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) was held recently. The development of the new software came to light as result of a request made by Sri Lanka Council for the Blind the SESD of SLIIT to explore the possibilities of developing a software which would open doors of knowledge to the visually impaired. more..

Situation report (Feb 6) by SLA

Feb 6 (SLA) Prabha Thambi’s Menu with Sumptuous Biriyani Meals Found: THE tyrannical dictator, PRABHAKARAN and his trusted confidants while hiding in luxurious palatial mansions in VISUAMADU, MULLAITTIVU jungles, appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed sumptuous Biriyani meals when misguided Tiger teenagers were fed only on few bread crumbs in bunkers. Friday’s recovery of a special Menu Card from the recently captured PRABHAKARAN’s abode in VISUAMADU more..

Permanent houses for evicted in Dematagoda

Feb 6 (DN) Chief Government Whip and Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the Government will provide permanent houses built in Dematagoda next month to the people of the Colombo district, whose houses were demolished for security reasons prior to the 2008 SAARC summit. Nearly 373 houses were demolished for security reasons as they came under the category of unauthorised constructions, he said. more..

Wayamba Handa on air from tomorrow

Feb 6 (DN) The SLBC will inaugurate the new Wayamba Service tomorrow with the broadcasting of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's address to the people in Kurunegala from Maligapitiya grounds. According to Wayamba Handa Director Gamini Wijewardena, President's address at the Maligapitiya Janahamuwa will be first aired by the Service via FM 96.6 frequency. This Service, a brainchild of Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa more..

Mihin Air expenses queried by JVP

Feb 6 (Island) US dollars 2,799,464.32 was spent to obtain three aircraft – A 320, A 321 and F 27 – for the Mihin Air Service, Deputy Civil Aviation Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne told Parliament yesterday. He said there was a total of US $ 32,748.64 outstanding which had to be settled by the Government for the A320 and A321. more..

Stage set for final battle

Feb 6 (Island) With the army capturing Chalai and Vishvamadu, two of the last three LTTE strongholds yesterday, the stage is now set for the final ground battle on the Vanni front. The army broke through LTTE lines after a sustained assault. The latest territorial gains brought the area under LTTE control down to approximately 100 square kilometres. The LTTE is now operating in and around Puthukudirippu where the ICRC maintains an office to direct humanitarian services. more..

95% of war over: UNP

Feb 6 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday admitted in Parliament that 95 percent of the war had now been completed, and paid a glowing tribute to the security forces and police for successfully combating terrorism. UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne who started the emergency debate on behalf of the opposition, said the security forces had fulfilled their duties well. Mr. Seneviratne said there had been heavy fighting in Mullaitivu during the past few days. more..

JVP alleges moves to make Basil next PM

Feb 6 (DM) The provincial council elections are a road map to make presidential advisor Basil Rajapaksa the next Prime Minister, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said. “The agenda behind these elections are to make Basil the next prime minister. It is ironic that the President had invited people to join forces with the government while on the other hand he calls for elections that are bound to divide people into political parties,” more..

Winning: Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (SP) After 26 years and over 80,000 dead, the Sri Lankan civil war is just about ended. Sixteen months ago, the LTTE separatist rebels still had a population of nearly 500,000 Tamils under its control in the north (out of a total Sri Lankan population of 20 million). Now, there are only about 200,000 Tamils still in only 300 square kilometers of LTTE controlled territory. In that small area, some 50,000 Sri Lankan troops are seeking out a few thousand armed LTTE fighters, many of them recently conscripted teenagers. more..

Calls for temporary truce and humanitarian corridors in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (AI) Amnesty International has called on the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to immediately declare a temporary humanitarian truce and create humanitarian corridors. This would allow more than a quarter of a million civilians trapped in the Wanni region to escape the ongoing war and also let food, water, and medical assistance reach these civilians who cannot leave. more..

Hundreds escape fighting, thousands still trapped

Feb 6 (IRIN) Some 1,600 civilians escaped fighting in the combat zone in northeastern Sri Lanka on 5 February, and fled to government-held areas, according to the Sri Lankan army. Another 600 civilians were waiting to cross over on 6 February, said Sri Lankan military spokesperson Brig Udaya Nanayakkara. At the same time aid agencies are warning the situation of some 250,000 civilians still trapped in the zone is getting graver by the day. more..

Vaiko charges Centre on ethnic war

Feb 6 (PTI) MDMK leader Vaiko on Friday charged the Indian government with not pushing for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. "Despite repeated resolutions adopted in the Assembly, calling for the Centre's intervention to ensure a ceasefire and the people of Tamil Nadu demanding it, the Centre has not pushed for the same at least for the sake of it," he said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka's end game brings new woes

Feb 6 (AT) With territory under the control of the LTTE shrinking to about 200 square kilometers, the Sri Lankan government is confident that the LTTE "will be defeated in a few days". In his speech marking Sri Lanka's 61st independence day, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Wednesday that Tamils living in "bondage under the ruthless forces of terror" would be "liberated and given the equality and all the rights that they are entitled to under the constitution". more..

Rae calls for re-engagement in Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (G&M) The Liberal foreign affairs critic is calling for Canada's re-engagement in Sri Lanka amid growing concern for some 300,000 civilians trapped in the war zone. Bob Rae told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been slow to get involved. “We've had a long history of engagement in Sri Lanka but more recently, under the Harper government, much less so,” he said. more..