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UK arrivals help Sri Lanka tourism boom

Feb 20 (BBC) Sri Lankan tourism officials say they have seen a sharp increase in the number of visitors from the UK. Sri Lanka's Tourism Development Authority says there has been a 25 percent rise in tourist arrivals from the UK since the end of the decades-long civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers last year. Figures also show that tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka rose by nearly 32 percent in January. more..

Blind Law Professor who cannot recognise lawlessness

Feb 20 (LG) Professor G.L. Peiris who was at one time known as the legal scholar with the greatest number of postgraduate degrees in Sri Lanka is proving himself to be legally blind. A former vice chancellor who is just a propaganda agent for the government makes statements to the press which reveals that he has lost whatever legal skill he may have had in the past. more..

UK announces new visa rules for students

Feb 20 (UKHC) From 22 February 2010 all students who apply to study in the UK under Tier 4 of the points-based system must possess a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from their sponsor. The CAS will replace the Visa Letter for overseas Tier 4 applications on 22 February 2010. The CAS is a virtual document, not an actual certificate, and it contains a unique 14 digit electronic reference number. more..

Tamil leaders ‘must come and negotiate with me’ after parliamentary elections

Feb 20 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is confident that the UPFA, led by his SLFP, will win the forthcoming parliamentary elections “very comfortably.” Asked whether his realistic target was a two-thirds majority, he responded: “I think we will be able to get that, or at least close to that.” Was he willing to enter into constructive cohabitation with the leader of the opposition more..

"Economics" the cause of war in Sri Lanka-can be key to lasting peace too

Feb 20 (TC) Economics is the cause and effect of War and Peace in Human History. This article looks at the Tamil struggle based on economics rather than politics. Although economics and politics are two different disciplines they are intertwined in many ways. In today’s world the most paramount human desire is one to strive for better economic status. This is the single most powerful driving force behind Capitalism and Democracy in the world today. more..

'JVP not scared of 'Medamulana' fury of Rajapakses'

Feb 20 (LT) The political process of the JVP could never be stopped by the Medamulana fury of Rajapakses and JVP is not a political party that could be stopped by suppression said Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Anura Dissanayake. He said, "Today at about 11.00 a.m. an ASP and a police team including the IP in charge of Thalangama police area came to JVP head office at 646/20 at Pelawatta. more..

Mahinda Rajapakse – divider extra-ordinaire?

Feb 20 (LG) Is President Rajapakse endowed with extra-ordinary powers to divide? He began dividing the once-powerful and cohesive UNP – whose MPs are now in a state of playing musical chairs where one does not know in which party their MPs are presently in. Often the MP himself does not – like the case of Karu Jayasuriya who is becoming an expert in travelling to and fro parties. Then he divided the LTTE along the Northern and Eastern Tamil reality - to the applause of all. more..

Mahanayakas chickened out. Who wouldn’t?

Feb 20 (LG) At a decisive moment the Mahanayakas announced that they were calling a general assembly of all monks to discuss the erosion of democracy and the decline of therule of law in Sri Lanka. The next moment they announced that the meeting is indefinitely postponed as they could not guarantee the safety of those who attend the meeting. The momentary elation of the people for the Mahanayakas’ commitment to safeguard the people’s right to freedom instantly vanished but more..

‘India is my relation, the others are friends’

Feb 20 (Hindu) Mahinda Rajapaksa, a powerful and popular head of government and state, has the way cleared for him for the next six years and more. In a recent conversation with N. Ram lasting three-and-a-half hours at Temple Trees in Colombo, he covered, and answered questions on, a range of subjects. Excerpts from his on-the-record comments and responses. Q: Huge victory in presidential election? more..

Of whom shall we speak?

Feb 20 (LG) As this column is being written, it is twenty years to the day when Richard de Zoysa, a young playwright and human rights activist, was abducted from his home in Rajagiriya, despite pleas from his mother with whom he lived. His bullet ridden body was found on the beach at Moratuwa the next day. It is believed that his abductors were the so-called guardians of the law, who formed a death squad acting under instructions of the then defence establishment, more..

Request to remove polls monitoring centre dismissed

Feb 20 (CaFFE) The Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday turned down a petition filed by a resident of Kollupitiya requesting to remove an election monitoring centre at Pedris Road, Colombo 3. The petitioner M. A. Don Rupananda had cited D. Manjula Liyanarachchi of Nugegoda, D. M. Dissanayake of Nugegoda and S. R. Thurairatnam as respondents. The petitioner had lodged a complaint with the Kollupitiya police alleging that an election monitoring centre, next more..

Mano sends warning signals to UNP

Feb 20 (CaFFE) In a letter released to the media, The DPF, a constituent party to the UNP-led alliance yesterday criticised the UNP for what it termed as attempts to field Tamil businessmen as candidates from Colombo sidelining their noinees. In a letter sent to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, DPF leader MP Mano Ganesan said certain UNP politicians in the nomination board were trying to introduce some traders as UNP Tamil candidates in Colombo. more..

Aftershocks of a civil war

Feb 20 (CBC) Sri Lanka's tortured politics shifted into a new and murky phase after the re-election of the country's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in January. Rajapaksa soundly defeated retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the battlefield commander who helped destroy the LTTE last year, ending Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war. The election was a bitter contest between the two former allies and when Fonseka threatened to challenge the results in court more..

Church promotes Tamil language to heal rift

Feb 20 (UCAN) The Church is hoping a program to teach the Tamil language to Sinhalese may help heal divisions opened up during the 26-year civil war. “A lack of knowledge of Tamil language creates division between the communities and that led to war,” Oblate Father Rohan Silva told UCA News. He believes a genuine commitment to give Tamil an equal status in the administration could help reconciliation. more..

Nature Calls - 112

Sinhalese influx into Jaffna

Feb 20 (EB) The northern Tamil heartland of Jaffna, which had been inaccessible by land since 1990, is experiencing a post-conflict Sinhalese tourist influx from south Sri Lanka. Though it brings loads of money into Jaffna, it puts tremendous pressure on the limited facilities and infrastructure in existence, giving rise to fears of health hazards. A majority of the southern visitors are Buddhist pilgrims going to the ancient Nagadeepa Buddha Vihara, more..

Puthiya Tamizhagam wants ban on LTTE lifted

Feb 20 (EB) Demanding that the ban on LTTE be lifted, Puthiya Tamizhagam (PT) founder K Krishnasamy said that a meeting would be organised in the city in the first week of April to explore the possibilities of achieving this legally. The meeting, for which organisations and experts from all over the world would be invited, would coincide with the parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, Krishnasamy told reporters here on Friday. more..

Kerawalapitiya power plant soon comes in to full operation

Feb 20 (GDI) The Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle power generation plant with a capacity of 100 megawatts will come into full operation from February 25 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ministry of Power and Energy revealed. The Kerawalapitiya power plant was one of the important components of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s policy of providing electricity for the needs of the next several years. more..

49 women detainees arrested in Vavuniyaa camps

Feb 20 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers arriving in vehicles 14 February took away 49 women from the SLA detainment camps in Valayamaa’ru, Cheddiku’lam and Pampaimadu in Vavuniyaa to Boosa camp, fellow detainees in the camps said. But camp authorities claimed that the women were arrested by Vavuniyaa Terrorism Investigation Department (TID). Among the 49 women arrested there were 10 from Jaffna, 17 from Ki’linochchi, more..

Fundamentalism versus totalitarianism in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (TN) Religious fundamentalism and state totalitarianism, which contribute to each other in the island of Sri Lanka is now at loggerheads, when state totalitarianism wants to have complete reins over the other, is the interpretation of a leftist academic in Colombo over the Maha Sangha controversy this week. Meanwhile, BBC Sinhala reported Friday, that "the main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused the government of violating the constitution by trying to more..

SLFP branch in Jaffna enlisting members using deceptive tactics

Feb 20 (TN) The Jaffna branch of the ruling SLFP is actively engaged in getting membership forms signed by the resettled Vanni displaced persons in Jaffna on the pretext that the forms are to be used to get information about their children gone missing during the war and to give them relief food and other assistance. Meanwhile, SLFP organiser Thilakumara Udugama said that so far 26,000 persons have enrolled themselves as members in SLFP. more..

2 Independent groups pay deposit money for election in Jaffna

Feb 20 (TN) Deposit money to contest in the forthcoming general election was paid by two independent groups Thursday and Friday in the presence of Assistant Election Officer in Jaffna Secretariat. Deposit money and list of candidates can be submitted until 26 noon and those tendered later will be rejected. Deposit money on behalf of Shanmuganathan Manoharan from Chaavakachcheari was paid at Jaffna Secretariat election office Thursday while more..

SriLankan Chairman spends Rs. 3 billion to modernize the airline

Feb 20 (LNW) SriLankan Airlines, which recorded a massive loss of Rs. 9.9 billion in the financial year that ended last March, has reportedly spent Rs. 3 billion to revamp the airline. The modernization has taken place following a proposal by SriLankan Airlines Chairman, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa’s brother, Nishantha Wickremasinghe. The modernization of the interior of Airbus aircraft had been handed over to more..

UK Education Exhibition commences today

Feb 20 (LP) The two day UK Education Exhibition commenced today (20) at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo and will end tomorrow (21). The exhibition is organized by the British Council and Education UK, the exhibition will have 51 top UK institutions. A range of seminars are also planned to run concurrently with the exhibition. The seminars and their times are: "My UK experience" Saturday from 1130 hours to 1230 hours; more..

Food poisoning at Naula due to leftover food

Feb 20 (LP) The food poisoning which occurred at the Naula Youth Brigade Training Centre was due to consuming leftover food. Investigations in to the food poisoning incident revealed that the food supplier had served leftover food from the noon meal for dinner. A special team was appointed by the Central Province Health Services to look into the incident of food poisoning at both in the training centre and more..

Yan Oya bridge to connect Trinco, Pulmoddai

Feb 20 (MoD) Reconstruction work on the Yan Oya bridge linking Trincomalee and Pulmoddai to boost social and economic activities in the Eastern Province is nearing completion. The bridge will be opened to the public soon, a Highways and Road Development Ministry spokesman told the Daily News. The 150 metre long and nine metre wide bridge is being constructed on the B424 road from Trincomalee to Pulmoddai. more..

Ministry continues to address Healthcare needs of IDPs

Feb 20 (GDI) The healthcare requirements of the displaced persons in the Northern Province will continue to be addressed by the Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition. The immediate health care and nutrition mechanism however would be under the Northern Provincial health authorities, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition, Dr. Nihal Jayatilake said. more..

BOI approves new projects

Feb 20 (GDI) The Board of Investment has given approval for investors, including a Hong Kong firm, to set up clothing factories for export. In a statement, the BOI said it has signed an investment agreement for 35 million rupees with Inter-fashion Limited, a firm sponsored by Bank Textile Asia of Hong Kong. It will manufacture high-value ladies formal wear. The company expects to operate with a 60,000 production capacity a month. more..

Molding the village youth to compete

Feb 20 (GDI) Young men and women who can compete and transact with the modern world should be molded from villages. This is the determination expressed by President of “Tharunayata Hetak” organization Namal Rajapaksa. Namal Rajapaksa pointed out that more factories will come up in the villages in the future. Jobs will be generated, school education strengthened and computer education improved in the villages. more..

Politics will not hamper my friendship with Mangala – Tiran Alles

Feb 20 (LNW) SLFP (M) Wing National Coordinator Tiran Alles Lanka News Web that there was no division in the SLFP (M) Wing and the decision to support the Democratic National Alliance led by General Sarath Fonseka at the forthcoming general election was based on his principles. He said this in response to a question posed by Lanka News Web if there was a split in the SLFP (M) Wing. more..

Rs. 2500 salary increase is another canard of the govt.

Feb 20 (LT) The promise made by Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse before the presidential election that salaries of all state and private sector employees would be increased by Rs.2500 has already become a hollow utterance as government ministers have stated that salaries of state employees cannot be increased until the general election is over and the next budget is approved. Also Employers Associations had opposed the promise of increasing Rs. 2500 for 4.3 million private sector more..

The two faced act of Sirasa-Shakthi TV’s Sri Ranga

Feb 20 (LNW) A producer of popular Tamil programmes on Shakthi TV that belongs to the Sirasa TV network, Sri Ranga, is admired by the Tamil population in the country for fearlessly speaking about the issues faced by the community on television. The Minnal (Lightning) programme produced by him has become popular among Tamil viewers as the programme is believed to speak the truth without any fear. more..

Actors in Swan-Lake drama dump the show after its first performance

Feb 20 (GDI) Recently staged Swan-Lake drama will not go in front of the public again, disappointing a large number of fans. The infamous ‘Swans’ who congregated at the famous hotel by the ‘Lake’ in Colombo during their inaugural performance have now decided to go their own different ways. Around 70 rooms were booked for the cast and the support teams of the drama for a few days around the inaugural performance date. more..

Hela Urumaya (MPs) monks discarded from the UPFA National list for Gampaha District

Feb 20 (LeN) At the upcoming General election, the leadership in the National list of the UFPA for the Gampaha District has been assigned to President’s brother Basil Rajapakse. Two Gampaha former District MPs ,of the JHU, Aparekka Pragnananda and Alawwe Nandaloka Theros have not been included in the list. The MP for Kalutara district Athureliya Rathane Thero has been included instead. more..

Special 'Pooja' at Kali Amman temple against illegal detention of Gen. Fonseka

Feb 20 (LT) A special 'pooja' to plead from the deities to get justice and fairness to Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who is being detained illegally, was held at 'Kali Amma' Hindu Temple at Mutwal in Colombo yesterday. Gen. Fonseka's wife Anoma Fonseka, former Parliamentarian of the JVP Sunil Handunneththi, Ramalingam Chandrasekar, representatives of Mr. Mano Ganeshan's party and a large crowd participated in the special 'Pooja.' more..

'Sri Lanka, Iran mutual friends'

Feb 20 (DN) Sri Lanka and Iran have maintained mutually beneficial and fruitful bonds of friendship and cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1962 and in recent times the ties have expanded considerably in political, economic and cultural fields. Minister M.H. Mohamed declared so representing the government at the function held at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo on more..

Heroin seizing cops missed the culprit

Feb 20 (Island) Police, who seized 30 kilos of heroin at Mundel in Kalpitiya on Thursday morning, just missed their main target, a highly fashionable middle aged woman who collects the contraband along with the travelling bag in which the stuff was brought and travels to Colombo International Airport. Police investigations reveal that she travels with a few more travelling bags, a passport and some local produce to impress any law enforcement officers, more..

Eternally most worrisome Bandula will not worry consumers for just 3 months only

Feb 20 (UNP) Minister Bandula Gunawardena, better known among the consumers as the Minister of consumer despair will not drive consumers into despair for three months (just three months only !) by raising milk food prices. He said, he has decided not to increase milk food prices for the next three months. While the consumers may heave a sigh of relief over this tiny breathing space he is trying to give to the consumers, more..

Army patriotism sees no bounds; Turns prime mover in development

Feb 20 (MoD) The subject of Patriotism has many facets, more popularly, they emerge in gallantry, warfare against foes, victory, etc but true tenets of patriotism are overwhelmingly glorious as Adlai Stevenson once wrote, "Men who have offered their lives for their country know that patriotism is not the fear of something, it is the love of something". more..

Minister Champika impliedly tells not to vote for his own leaders – not to vote for cutout and poster Kings

Feb 20 (UNP) Fortunately for the Govt. and unfortunately for the country, Minister Champika Ranawaka has realized in his characteristic style a trifle too late that cutouts and posters are causing environmental pollution , and therefore he is requesting the people not to vote for those who are trying to become ‘Kings’ and winners on election posters and cutouts. more..