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Technical Colleges to absorb 100,000 youth by 2010

Jan 19 (DN) Plans are afoot to absorb 100,000 youth to Technical Colleges by 2010, Vocational Training and Technical Training Minister Piyasena Gamage said. According to the needs more new training courses and technical institutions will be established. Minister Gamage said that nearly 75,000 youth have been absorbed to the technical colleges last year. Minister Gamage noted that unemployment is also one of the major issues to be addressed. more..

Deduru Oya project on high gear

Jan 19 (DN) The construction of the Deduru Oya irrigation project which could bring over 30,000 acres of land under the plough has been expedited to revive the farmers in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts who have been suffering from a lack of water for their cultivations. It is envisaged that another 1500 acres of land could be cultivated utilising the drift irrigation system under this project. more..

Situation Report (Jan 19th) - SL Army

Jan 19 (SLA) AS the ongoing humanitarian operation, poised to salvage terrorism-hit MULLAITTIVU civilians is entering its final phase, Sri Lanka Air Force this morning (19) conducted triple more aerial assaults on Tiger terrorists between 9.00-11.30 a.m. The first sortie was conducted in the south of MULLAITTIVU at about 9.00 a.m. giving cover to 59 Division troops battling against terrorists in their opposite direction. more..

Hot air over move to include Kandy car park in BoI project

Jan 19 (Island) The Kandy Municipal Council unanimously decided to make representations to President Mahinda Rajapaksa against a decision to include the Kandy multi-million rupee car park in a BOI project in Kandy town at a special meeting chaired by Mayor L. B. Aluwihare on Wednesday. The council also decided without a division to resort to legal action against the inclusion of the car-park in the BOI project which belongs to a private firm. more..

Govt. to import jumbos Pinnawala zoo

Jan 19 (Island) Cabinet approval had been given for bringing a herd of tuskers from Thailand for cultural and religious ceremonies as the number of local tuskers was not sufficient, Sports and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokgue said during an inspection tour of the Second zoological garden being built at Pinnawala. More than 80 percent of the construction work under the first phase of the project has been completed. more..

Govt. using dead bodies to win elections: UNP candidate

Jan 19 (DM) The UNP candidate for Matale District Asoka Bandara Tennakoon yesterday said the victories in the battlefield in the North have been genuine. However he charged that the government was using the dead bodies of the brave soldiers to win the elections. “Government should not use the dead bodies to win the elections; but the emerging down-fall of the economy would be the end of it,” more..

Squash coach death: Victim’s sister suspects foul play

Jan 19 (DM) The Sinhalese Sports Club former squash coach Lukshan Kavinda Cooray who was admitted to the Sri Lanka National Hospital last Tuesday with serious gunshot injuries died on Saturday morning, hospital sources said. It was alleged that a Sub Inspector attached to the Field Police Head Quarters was riding his motor bike with a friend on the pillion when they met Mr. Cooray at the Lunawa junction. more..

Jaffna bishop asks govt to help weary refugees, calls for a humanitarian corridor

Jan 19 (AN) Mgr Thomas Saundaranayagam, bishop of Jaffna, wants a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to find refuge in a safe area. He made the appeal to Sri Lankan authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on behalf of the residents in and around the city of Mullaitivu (Vanni) where clashes between the army and LTTE rebels are intensifying. more..

Sri Lankan illegal migrants deported by Britain

Jan 19 (LBO) Britain has started deporting illegal Sri Lankan migrants with the first batch having arrived by charter flight on January 15 at the island international airport, the British High Commission said. The UK and Sri Lankan governments have struck a deal to send back illegal migrants on a regular programme of charter flights. "The British and Sri Lanka have an ongoing agreement to facilitate the return of Sri Lankan nationals who have been remaining unlawfully in the UK," more..

Sri Lanka 'sand mafia' broken, says mines bureau

Jan 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) has increased mining of sand at a deposit it runs to try to ensure adequate supplies and stable prices for the construction industry, a senior official said. N P Wijayananda, chairman of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, said the state-owned agency got into sand mining to end a sand shortage and break control over the market by a cartel of suppliers. more..

Rajiv Gandhi's statue desecrated in India

Jan 19 (PTI) Tension prevailed in the city following alleged desecration of a statue of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by unidentified persons on Monday, police said here. Police said that an effigy of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa tied with a garland made of footwear was found hanging around the hand of the statue at the Tahattavam junction here. On hearing about the incident, Welfare Minister M Kandasamy, Health Minister A Namassivayam and various Congress leaders reached the spot. more..

IPI calls impunity a ‘Dark Stain’ on Sri Lankan govt

Jan 19 (IPI) The International Press Institute joined other leading media rights organisations today in condemning a "culture of impunity and indifference" over attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka. Since the beginning of the year, the killing of a senior editor and the attack on the facilities of a popular independent TV channel have led to a paralysis of the media. In the wake of these events, an extreme sense of anxiety has gripped the journalists’ community about their basic safety and working conditions. more..

'Don't thrust Indo-Lanka accord on Sri Lankan Tamils'

Jan 19 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Monday cautioned the Centre against "thrusting" the 1987 Indo-Lanka accord on the Sri Lankan Tamils to end the ethnic strife in the island nation. On reports that Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama had informed Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon during the latter's just concluded visit to Colombo that Sri Lankan government viewed the accord as "key" to seeking political solution, more..

Genetic mutation leaves South Asians vulnerable to heart disease

Jan 19 (Times) Up to 60 million South Asians – or one percent of the world's population -- are destined to suffer heart disease because of a single genetic mutation, according to a scientific study published today. An international team of scientists and doctors, writing in the Nature Genetics academic journal, said that the genetic mutation occurred almost exclusively among the 1.5 billion residents of the Indian subcontinent. more..

Muslims displaced by Sri Lanka war find little hope in its end

Jan 19 (Times) The Sri Lankan military’s nearly-completed rout of the Tamil Tigers should be a cause of huge celebration for Noorilisa Abu-Bakr and her family. In what has been described as the 25-year conflict’s most notorious act of ethnic cleansing, it was the separatist rebels who ordered her family, among 75,000 Muslims, from their homes in Jaffna, the provincial capital of the north, to clear the city for an ethnic Tamil state. more..

Sri Lanka feel squeeze as sponsors take flight

Jan 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's economic slowdown has taken its toll on the island's hugely popular sport of cricket as long-term sponsor disappear, sports minister Gamini Lokuge said on Monday. The national team, which includes Test cricket's leading wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan, failed to attract backers when sponsorship for the team and players' clothing was put up for bidding this month. more..

Prabhakran's luxury bunker uncovered amidst hutments

Jan 19 (PTI) Sri Lankan forces fast closing in on LTTE last bastion in island nation's north have captured one of the command bunkers used by elusive Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran in thick forests of Dharmapuram town in Mullaittivu. The bunker, being lebelled by the Lankan Forces as a prize discovery, was camouflaged as an ordinary peasant hut, but had all the trappings of a Command headquarters and its seizure comes as suspense grows on Prabhakaran's whereabouts. more..

'LTTE biggest oppressor of Tamil people'

Jan 19 (PTI) Blaming the LTTE for the "plight" of Tamils in the North, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday said the rebels' claim to be their "liberators" is "false" and asked the Sri Lankan missions abroad to inform the world about Colombo's efforts to restore democracy in the war-torn areas. "It is time for you to inform the world of the progress we are making towards restoring democracy and freedom in the North, and counter the ill-informed charges being made about the plight of the innocent Tamil people there," more..

Sri Lanka troops find plane wreckage

Jan 19 (AFP) Troops have found the wreckage of an aircraft near an air strip captured from Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the island, military officials said on Monday. The wreckage was found on Sunday in the jungles around Mullaittivu, the last stronghold of the LTTE, and officials were investigating if it was a part of the Tigers' air force. "We have asked the air force to examine the wreckage and find out if it is a Tiger plane or parts of an air force aircraft downed inside LTTE-held areas some years ago," more..

Sri Lanka's most wanted Tiger running out of options

Jan 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's top Tamil Tiger, who inspired hundreds of followers to stage suicide bombings in the fight for a separate state, is facing his biggest challenge yet and is fast running out of options. To his followers, Velupillai Prabhakaran is seen as a "Sun God" who formed a formidable and feared guerrilla organisation out of a ragtag group of separatist rebels in the 1970s. more..

'Inform the world of our progress to democracy'

Jan 20 (LG) “It is time for you to inform the world of the progress we are making towards restoring democracy and freedom in the north, and counter the ill informed charges being made about the plight of the innocent Tamil people there,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing Sri Lanka’s Honorary Consuls abroad at a special meeting and working session for them organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

Tigers and leopards

Jan 20 (LG) Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Katchi (Liberation Leopards Party’s supremo Thirumavalavan started a fast unto death for the sake of Sri Lankan Tamils (read LTTE) without police permission. All the pro-LTTE outfits including the PMK supported his initiative, even while advising him to break his fast. But there must have been some cue some where as they inulged in violence across the State damaging public properties, attacking public transport. more..

'Govt. trying to secure by false propaganda what it cannot in substance'

Jan 20 (LG) UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella, addressing the media at the UNP media center today (19 Jan), said the Govt. prior to the up coming provincial Council elections is so desperate that it is trying out false propaganda using its media sources. As it is aware that it is going to face sure defeat in the Central province election it is carrying on false news bulletins that UNP ers are crossing over to the Govt. more..

Commercial Bank exposure on second derivative deal US$21.6mn

Jan 20 (LBO) Commercial Bank said its exposure to an oil derivative sold through People's Bank would be 21.6 million dollars with oil at 35 dollars a barrel, which the state-run bank has so far not honoured. The contract is one of several arranged for state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) by a number of local and foreign commercial banks on which payments have been halted by a ruling from the island's Supreme Court. more..

Shares up 5.5 pct on hope of war's end

Jan 20 (Reuters) Bourse jumped 5.48 percent to a two-month high on Monday led by bargain-hunting on select bluechips due to an expected economic recovery with investors are increasingly confident of end to a 25-year old war. The rupee closed flat with intervention from a state bank. The Colombo All-Share index surged 90.46 points to 1740.41, its highest close since Nov. 18. The bourse is up 13.6 percent in last five sessions and 15.8 percent so far this year. more..

Rising concerns over thousands trapped in conflict areas

Jan 20 (IRIN) Concerns are rising over the safety of tens of thousands of civilians trapped in conflict-affected areas in northern Sri Lanka without safe passage out of the fighting. Officials from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said more than 230,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Vanni remain precariously close to heavy fighting between government forces and cadres from the LTTE. more..

India's investment in Sri Lanka dips by $1.33 mn

Jan 20 (PTI) India's investment in Sri Lanka has declined by $ 1.33 million to $ 6.93 million in the last fiscal, despite big domestic companies investing in the island nation. "The approved Indian investments in Sri Lanka were $ 8.26 million in 2006-07 and $ 6.93 million during 2007-08," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said at a meeting with Sri Lankan Minister of Export Development and International Trade G L Peiris, here today. more..

Sri Lankan boatpeople volunteer to be sent home

Jan 20 (TA) Two Sri Lankan boatpeople whose vessel breached Australia's border defences and landed on the West Australian coast have been repatriated, the first in the latest wave of arrivals to be sent home. The news came as three Indonesian men appeared in a Perth Court after being charged by Australian Federal Police with people-smuggling offences. The two men were part of a boatload of 12 Sri Lankans who landed at False Entrance, 800km north of Perth in November. more..

Jayalalithaa slams police for 'inaction' on ads featuring LTTE chief

Jan 20 (PTI) Terming the fast by Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katch leader Thol Thirumavalavan on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue as a "drama", AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Monday slammed the police for "failing" to take action against the VCK for issuing advertisements in news papers with pictures of LTTE supremo V Prabahakaran. In a statement here, she said the four-day fast had brought no end to the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan troops press offensive against Tigers

Jan 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels fought heavy battles during an army push to corner the separatist insurgents on the Indian Ocean island's northeast coast, the military said on Monday. The fighting on Sunday took place at several locations around the shrinking wedge of jungle that is all the LTTE still control, with analysts saying the 25-year war is near its end. more..

Pakistan-Sri Lanka to promote defence coop

Jan 20 (APP) Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Monday underscored the need for maintaining and promoting closer cooperation particularly in the area of defence. This was discussed at a meeting between Secretary Defence, Lt. General Syed Athar Ali, and the visiting Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who called on him in Ministry of Defence Rawalpindi. The meeting emphasized the need for developing military to military cooperation at all levels. more..

Nath calls for improvement in Sri Lankan investment

Jan 20 (ANI) Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath today emphasised that there is a scope for further improvement for FDI inflows to India, and added that top sectors in which FDI has been approved from Sri Lanka are textiles, food processing industries, telecommunication, trading, chemicals, paper and leather industries. During a bilateral meeting with Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade of Sri Lanka, here today, more..

Tamil Nadu State to be "paralysed" until Colombo declares ceasefire

Jan 20 (TC) All work and transport in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu will be paralysed indefinitely until the Sri Lankan Government of President Mahinda Rajapakse declares a ceasefire. Two regional political party leaders from the pre-dominantly Tamil state have decided to launch a massive state – wide hartal or Bandh (stoppage of work) in the state until Colombo calls off the war against the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka impounds passports of finance firm officials

Jan 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said it had won a court order impounding the passports of several officials of Okanda Finance Limited, an unlicensed finance company, to prevent them leaving the country. It said in a statement the Colombo Chief Magistrates’ Court issued order to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration Monday to prevent the Okanda officials from leaving the country. more..

AIADMK attempting to topple regime using Lankan card: Karunanidhi

Jan 20 (IANS) The opposition AIADMK is conniving with 'certain parties' to topple the DMK regime using the Lankan Tamils' issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Monday said. '(AIADMK leader) Jayalalitha is conspiring to topple the (DMK) government with the connivance of 'certain parties' using the alibi of the Lankan Tamils issue,' he said. The chief minister said attempts are being made to divert attention from the issue and more..

Sangari rubbishes allegation of genocide

Jan 20 (AT) "There is no question of genocide against the Tamils. I have already explained this to the people of Jaffna, when I was last time there. In a meeting in Jaffna, where more than one thousand people attended and in my address, I told them that the charges of genocide is all rubbish," said V. Anandasangari, leader of the TULF. He said, "What that happened in Germany during the Second World War, we can classify it as genocide, which was an attempt to annihilate a section of humanity as a whole. more..

The game is back and it is on

Jan 20 (CI) Finally, we return to the cricket. Dubai, doping, security, isolation, political and financial jiggery-pokery can all at long last be fully damned and forgotten for a while. On Tuesday, eleven plays eleven, on a 22-yard brown strip, in a big field, a ball and bat the utensils. We forget sometimes that, really, it is a simple and beautiful game. As much as the elements, the line-ups, key performers and whatnot, rust and possible decay will be on the minds of Pakistan as they take on Sri Lanka. more..

Sirasa investigations 'flawed'

Jan 20 (BBC) The judiciary in Sri Lanka has called the police investigations into the attack on MTV-MBC media station as flawed. Ordering the release of five suspects on bail, Nugegoda magistrate said it appears that police investigation is focused on irrelevant issues, counsel Nissanka Nanayakkara who appeared for the suspects said. The magistrate has questioned as to why the police did not hand over the investigations to CID to investigate a highly controversial incident. more..

Pakistan gear up for much-needed home series

Jan 20 (CI) The hastily arranged series against Sri Lanka is just what Pakistan cricket needs: it quenches their fans' thirst for high-quality cricket, it should ease the board's massive financial problems and will hopefully shift the focus from a spate of controversies surrounding the country's cricket in the past few months (emphasised by the ludicrous situation of the board potentially facing a lawsuit from their own legal advisor). more..

Indicate when Pranab will go to Sri Lanka: Karunanidhi

Jan 20 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Monday said the Centre should have revealed the reason why External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee could not go to Sri Lanka in an effort to find a solution to the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils. At least, the Centre could have indicated the “appropriate time” when the Minister would make his trip. Since none of these happened, the State government was pained, he said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka looks for joint ventures in hospitality and tourism sector

Jan 20 (B24/7) Sri Lanka, which is aggressively promoting tourism in the Middle East, is looking for joint ventures in the hospitality and tourism sector, according to Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister of Tourism. Faiszer Musthapha, who is in Dubai to talk to government officials any key industry bodies, told Emirates Business that his government would welcome investment in the hospitality and tourism sectors. more..

Thoughts on violence against and the future of independent media in Sri Lanka by Lakshman Gunesekera

Jan 20 (GV) Interview with Lakshman Gunesekera, President of the Sri Lanka chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and former Editor of the Sunday Observer. For more videos in Sinhala and English, click on the Violence against and the future of independent media in Sri Lanka playlist on the Vikalpa YouTube video channel. more..

Deposit for hiring Lanka housemaids

Jan 20 (GT) THE Sri Lankan embassy has introduced a refundable deposit of QR2,000 for recruiting housemaids from the Asian country. An embassy official said the system had come into effect from January 15 for all contracts for employing housemaids from Sri Lanka. “It is being done to ensure that in the event of any problem being faced by maids at their sponsors’ place, their rights are protected,” he said. more..

Japan to send its special peace envoy to Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (IANS) Sri Lanka's single largest donor, Japan is sending its special peace envoy to Colombo to 'encourage a political solution to the ethnic conflict' in the country, at a time when troops were advancing into the northeastern jungle district of Mullaitivu, the last major stronghold of Tamil Tiger rebels. The Japanese embassy here said its special envoy for peace-building, rehabilitation and reconstruction, Yasushi Akashi, will be undertaking a five-day visit from Wednesday. more..

LTTE oppression makes Wanni civilians hate LTTE

Jan 20 (TC) Those making the crossing from around Mullativu are a different lot, from others who crossed during the last few months. They know it is twilight time for the sun god awaiting a call to be beheaded. Escape, he must, if he is to survive but before he could, those who lived in his domain have decided to move. They are certain that the LTTE is destined to lose, so why wait? more..

President must do the right thing by implementing practical measures

Jan 20 (TC) John Maynard Keynes, the economist, is widely quoted as saying "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?" The quote comes to mind when reflecting on the current attitudes to devolution. The facts relevant to devolution have changed fundamentally in the last few decades. Views, however, are stuck in a time warp. We hear the same arguments repeated vociferously, and ceaselessly, more..

Whither the LTTE?

Jan 20 (DBS) Recent developments on the war front in Northern Sri Lanka have caused bewilderment and disappointment to many supporters and sympathisers of the LTTE. There were many who thought that the LTTE was going to defeat the Sri Lankan armed forces conclusively and deliver an Independent state of Tamil Eelam on a platter. They were willing to overlook, gloss over, ignore or blatantly deny the various human rights violations perpetrated by the LTTE because more..

Navy thwarts LTTE Attempt to get away and destroys 04 LTTE Boats - off Mullaithivu

Jan 20 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy thwarted an LTTE attempt to get away and destroyed four (04) LTTE boats during a fierce gun battle that erupted off the coast of Mullaithivu around 11.30 p.m. yesterday (19th January). The Navy's Fast Attack Craft (FACs) intercepted a flotilla of LTTE Sea Tiger boats launched from Mullaithivu which were attempting to get away and engaged them destroying four (04) LTTE boats forcing the enemy to retreat and abandon the mission. more..

Temporary identity cards for PC polls

Jan 20 (GDI) The Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake has warned that time was running out for voters without any form of officially recognized identity card to obtain temporary Identity Cards which are compulsory for voting. Candidates should know to advise their supporters to comply and not complain later as for no reason would the closing date for temporary identity cards be extended beyond February (4) 2009. more..

Two housing schemes for public servants in Galle

Jan 20 (GDI) Two housing schemes for public servants comprising 1088 units, constructed at Habaraduwa and Wekunagoda will be declared open by March, Minister of Public Administration and Home affairs and Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. He said that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa also stressed the importance of providing housing facilities to public servants in a friendly environment. more..